Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years

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National Academies Press, Dec 5, 2006 - Science - 160 pages
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In response to a request from Congress, Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years assesses the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for Earth during approximately the last 2,000 years and the implications of these efforts for our understanding of global climate change. Because widespread, reliable temperature records are available only for the last 150 years, scientists estimate temperatures in the more distant past by analyzing "proxy evidence," which includes tree rings, corals, ocean and lake sediments, cave deposits, ice cores, boreholes, and glaciers. Starting in the late 1990s, scientists began using sophisticated methods to combine proxy evidence from many different locations in an effort to estimate surface temperature changes during the last few hundred to few thousand years. This book is an important resource in helping to understand the intricacies of global climate change.

 

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Contents

Introduction to Technical Chapters
25
ATTRIBUTION OF GLOBAL WARMING TO HUMAN INFLUENCES
27
REPORT STRUCTURE
28
The Instrumental Record
29
INSTRUMENTAL DATA
30
UNCERTAINTIES AND ERRORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE INSTRUMENTAL RECORD
33
SPATIAL SAMPLING ISSUES
35
Documentary and Historical Evidence
38
Boreholes
77
BOREHOLES IN ROCK AND PERMAFROST
78
LIMITS ON BOREHOLEBASED RECONSTRUCTIONS
80
BOREHOLES IN GLACIAL ICE
81
Statistical Background
83
LINEAR REGRESSION AND PROXY RECONSTRUCTION
84
PRINCIPAL COMPONENT REGRESSION
89
VALIDATION AND THE PREDICTION SKILL OF THE PROXY RECONSTRUCTION
92

LIMITATIONS AND BENEFITS OF HISTORICAL AND DOCUMENTARY SOURCES
39
SYSTEMATIC CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTIONS DERIVED FROM HISTORICAL ARCHIVES
40
CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE FOR PAST SOCIETIES
43
Tree Rings
45
FIELD AND LABORATORY METHODS
47
TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS
48
Marine Lake and Cave Proxies
53
CORALS
54
MARINE SEDIMENTS
58
LAKE AND PEAT SEDIMENTS
60
SPELEOTHEMS
62
SUMMARY
64
Ice Isotopes
65
PHYSICAL BASIS FOR DERIVING CLIMATE SIGNALS FROM ICE ISOTOPIC RATIO RECORDS
66
CALIBRATION AND RESOLUTION
67
Glacier Length and Mass Balance Records
71
RECONSTRUCTING TEMPERATURE RECORDS FROM GLACIER RECORDS
72
OTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE FROM GLACIERS
75
QUANTIFYING THE FULL UNCERTAINTY OF A RECONSTRUCTION
95
Climate Forcings and Climate Models
98
CLIMATE FORCINGS
99
CLIMATE MODEL SIMULATIONS
105
ANTHROPOGENIC FORCING AND RECENT CLIMATE CHANGE
107
LargeScale Multiproxy Reconstruction Techniques
110
EVOLUTION OF MULTIPROXY RECONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES
111
STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF LARGESCALE SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS
115
OVERALL FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
117
WHAT COMMENTS CAN BE MADE ON THE VALUE OF EXCHANGING INFORMATION AND DATA?
118
WHAT MIGHT BE DONE TO IMPROVE OUR UNDERSTANDING OF CLIMATE VARIATIONS OVER THE LAST 2000 YEARS?
119
References
120
Appendixes
137
Statement of Task
139
R Code for Figure 92
140
Biographical Sketches of Committee Members
142
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