Building a future on knowledge from the past: what paleo-science can reveal about climate change and its potential impacts in Australia
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
In Australia, high quality instrumental climate records only extend back to the late 19th century and therefore only provide us with a brief snapshot of our climate, its mean state and its short-term variability. Palaeo-records extend our knowledge of climate back beyond the instrumental record, providing us with the means of testing and improving our understanding of the nature and impacts of climate change and variability in Australia. There is a vast body of palaeo-records available for the Australian region (including Antarctica), ranging from continuous records of sub-decadal up to millennial scale (such as those derived from tree rings, speleothems, corals, ice cores, and lake and marine sediments) through to discontinuous records representing key periods in time (such as coastal deposits, palaeo-channels, glacial deposits and dunes). These records provide a large array of evidence of past atmospheric, terrestrial and marine environments and their varying interactions through time. There are a number of key ways in which this evidence can, in turn, be used to constrain uncertainties about climate change and its potential impacts in Australia.
Climates, Paleoclimatology, Australia, Antarctic regions, Climatic change, Environment
Harle, K., Etheridge, D., Whetton, P., Jones, R., Hennessy, K., Goodwin, I., Brooke, B., van Ommen, T., Barbetti, M., Barrows, T., Chappell, J., De Deckker, P., Fink, D., Gagan, M., Haberle, S., Heijnis, H., Henderson-Sellers, A., Hesse, P., Hope, G., Kershaw, P., & Nicholls, N. (2007). Building a future on knowledge from the past: what paleo-science can reveal about climate change and its potential impacts in Australia. A research brief for the Australian Greenhouse Office prepared by CSIRO in association with scientific collaborators. Sydney, Australia : Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.