Paleoclimate Research

Paleoclimate research is an essential part of studying Earth's changing climate. The historic and geologic record of Earth's past provides a unique source of information for climate change research. These records tell us that Earth's climate experienced changes on many time scales, and that these changes involved the interaction of many Earth system processes. Our ability to accurately simulate Earth's past is a necessary test for climate models. Given the vast span of time in Earth's history, NCAR's paleoclimate research is divided into three time regimes:

  • the past centuries to millennia, [more]
  • the period spanning from the past few million years to the past few thousand years, [more]
  • the period spanning over millions of years of Earth history. [more]

NCAR paleoclimate research focuses on using the Community Climate System Model to simulate climates of these three time regimes. Scientists at NCAR work closely with university colleagues to compare model simulations with observational records. The synergy between simulations and observations provides a unique framework for exploring Earth's climate system. This research is highly relevant for studying Earth's future climate, given that the projected greenhouse forcing over the next century is similar to that which existed in Earth's past.