Methods, potential, and limitations for tracing abrupt climate change in clastic environments

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Results from the Greenland ice cores (GISP2 and GRIP) suggest that the Earths climate has experienced periods of rapid climate change, however the link between climate change and the resulting sediment record is poorly known. Studies from a wide variety of depositional settings indicate links can be found and that short cycles (1,000-3,000 yrs) may be associated with ocean-atmospheric coupling. Environments with continuous and high sedimentation rates combined with low bioturbation rates are optimum. As the sediment record varies with environment it is important to understand the temporal and spatial limitations of the record. Lag responses and feed back mechanisms may create weak links between cause and effect. These problems may be averted by using a global approach, such as, comparing high and low latitude data sets, as well as arid and tropical environments for equivalent time intervals. Accurate correlation techniques are critical for distinguishing local from regional signatures. The meaning of abrupt will vary with environment, but ice core records and some limited sedimentological studies suggests that decades to a few hundred years is a reasonable estimate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-165
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Palaeontology


  • Correlation
  • Ice cores
  • Lag response
  • Paleoclimate

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