Preface

Although a number of books on environmental change refer to the glacial record (for example, Embleton, C. and King, A.M. (1975): Glacial Geomorphology, Edward Arnold; Bradley, R.S. (1985): Quaternary Paleoclimatology, Allen & Unwin; Drewry, D. (1986): Glacial Geological Processes, Edward Arnold; Oerlemans, J. (1989): Glacier Fluctuations and Climate Change, Kluwer Academic Publishers; Bradley, R.S. (1991): Global Changes of the Past, UCAR, Boulder, Colorado; Eddy, J. A. and Oeschger, H. (1991): Global Changes in the Perspective of the Past, John Wiley & Sons; Bell, M. and Walker, M.J.C. (1992): Late Quaternary Environmental Change, Longman Group; Dawson, A.G. (1992): Ice Age Earth, Routledge; Lowe, J.J. and Walker, M.J.C. (1992 and 1997): Reconstructing Quaternary Environments, Longman Scientific & Technical; Mannion, A.M. (1992): Global Environmental Change, Longman Scientific & Technical; Kemp, D.D. (1994): Global Environmental Issues, Routledge; Roberts, N. (1994): The Changing Global Environment, Blackwell; Houghton et al. (1995): Climate Change 1995, Cambridge University Press; Menzies, J. (1995): Modern Glacial Environments, Butterworth-Heinemann; Menzies, J. (1996): Past Glacial Environments, Butterworth-Heinemann; and Benn, D. I. and Evans, D.J.A. (1998): Glaciers and Glaciation, Edward Arnold), there is no book that concentrates on this specific theme. The relevant material is scattered in more general texts, especially on glacial processes and glacial stratigraphy. Thus, the book should appeal to a wide readership ranging from students to scientists in a number of disciplines related to climate and environmental issues.

The book is intended to be an authoritative work at an advanced level, accessible to higher level undergraduates, and an inspiration to young researchers interested in the subject of environmental change. Students taking advanced options in glaciology, glacial geomorphology and environmental change will hopefully find this book valuable. Such courses are mainly offered in Geography and Environmental Studies degree schemes, although university Geology/Earth Science departments are increasingly teaching environmental courses. The book is intended for use in physical geography, geological sciences, environmental sciences, glaciology, Quaternary science, and palaeoclimatology. The book will also be useful as part of the scientific basis for understanding recent environmental change.

Evidence derived from glaciers that may be used in palaeoclimatic reconstruction is widespread and increasingly diverse. A book that brings together these proxy data, explains their application and draws conclusions about the past, present and potential future climate change in relation to glaciers therefore fills a niche.

The main aim of this book has been to provide a thorough, up-to-date account of glaciers and ice sheets as monitors and indicators of environmental change. The book is intended to cover the record of environmental change within glaciers and ice sheets, and the record of past environments left by retreating glaciers. These themes are examined within the context of environmental change in general and global climate change in particular. Methods of palaeoenvironmental records are assessed and implications for future environmental change are discussed. Evidence from glacier ice, or left by glaciers in the landscape or within the geological record, provides one of the most important sources of information on environmental change.

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