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A new way of thinking: Revolutions in paleoclimatology in the last 50 years

By
Judith Totman Parrish
Judith Totman Parrish
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, P.O. Box 443022, Moscow, Idaho 83844-3022, USA
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Published:
September 01, 2013

Changes in the study of paleoclimate during the past 50 years can be demarcated by three revolutions. Plate tectonics was a major (“Kuhnian”) revolution. Two smaller, but nevertheless significant, revolutions were the ocean-drilling revolution and the climate-model revolution. The history of paleoclimate studies shows, in general, an evolution from geographically and/or temporally focused studies in the pre-plate tectonics era, to development of paleoclimate proxies and studies of global climate patterns, to predominantly global studies in connection with paleoclimate modeling; the revolutions have been responsible for some of the shifts in focus. In the most recent decade, new questions posed by global studies and paleoclimate models have driven a reexamination of, and new focus on, geographically and/or temporally focused work. Even more recent advances in geochronology, coupled with the current new energy in developing paleoclimate proxies, are showing the beginnings of a new cycle and hold promise of creating a fourth revolution: the human-impacts revolution.

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GSA Special Papers

The Web of Geological Sciences: Advances, Impacts, and Interactions

Marion E. Bickford
Marion E. Bickford
Department of Earth Sciences, 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-1070, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
500
ISBN print:
9780813725000
Publication date:
September 01, 2013

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