Other than purely for the sake of knowledge, one of the key reasons scientists have such an interest in understanding the climate of the Earth's ancient past is so they can understand how the atmosphere and climate respond under varying conditions. The Earth's climate is an extremely complex system, and a change in any single component can have far-reaching effects on both a short- and long-term basis. For this reason, the more scientists understand about the past, the better they can predict the future. This chapter focuses on that objective—the creation of mathematical models as a way to accurately and realistically represent the climate. It also explores possibilities of what the climate on Earth may be like far into the future.
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