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Palaeoclimate interpretations based on geological proxies of climate are fundamental to our understanding of climate change in the geological record. Most proxy definitions depend upon analogy with modern-day relationships, and the validity of this has long been questioned, especially for biological climate proxies. In the early 19th century the solution was to assume that if multiple proxies indicated the same climate then this increased the probability that the interpretation was correct. This probabilistic approach is advocated here. A further criticism has been that climate interpretations based on proxies are mainly qualitative. This is a problem when such data are...

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