Geologic records provide a critical perspective on climate change, with implications for our behavior. Ice cores, ocean sediments, tree rings, and others reveal that agriculture and industry have arisen during a few thousand years of anomalously stable climate. Natural changes half as large as the entire difference between ice-age and modern conditions have occurred repeatedly in mere years, affecting hemispheric or broader regions. Such climate jumps have been linked to changes in greenhouse gases, but not driven by them. Students in this course will learn how records of recent climate changes are recovered, read, and dated, how the climate system works and has worked, and the causes of ice-age cycles and faster climate jumps.
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