A new way of thinking: Revolutions in paleoclimatology in the last 50 years
Published:September 01, 2013
Judith Totman Parrish, 2013. "A new way of thinking: Revolutions in paleoclimatology in the last 50 years", The Web of Geological Sciences: Advances, Impacts, and Interactions, Marion E. Bickford
Download citation file:
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.