Climates of the Past: An Introduction to Paleoclimatology

Climates of the Past: An Introduction to Paleoclimatology

Climates of the Past: An Introduction to Paleoclimatology

Climates of the Past: An Introduction to Paleoclimatology

Excerpt

This book deals with the earth's climatic history over the last thousand million years. The translation follows closely the second German edition, in which the text had been completely revised and rewritten, most of the figures replaced by new ones, and their number increased from 70 to 134. Thus, the result is, virtually, a completely new book.

The alterations were due partly to my desire to present the large volume of material relevant to Paleoclimatology more clearly than before, and -- partly to the enormous advances which have been made in the science in the past decade or so. During this period, there have appeared techniques for temperature determination using oxygen isotopes, and the application of paleomagnetism to paleoclimatology -- both opening up undreamt-of vistas. Deep-sea research and C14 dating have been developed during this time to play a paramount role in the investigation of the climates of the past. It is still true, however, that we cannot put forward a completely satisfactory explanation of the development of paleoclimates, and though some of the new climatic hypotheses are indeed interesting, and though their number is still increasing, the emphasis in this book rests more on the facts (or more correctly, on what the geologist regards as such); in short, on climatic indicators.

I wish to compliment Dr. Richard O. Muir on his success in translating faithfully, but not pedantically, my original ideas concerning this exceedingly complex field of science. Dr. Muir, himself an able and thoughtful geologist, has enhanced the value of this first English edition by introducing some slight additions and amendments based on the findings of recent conferences and publications. The bibliography has been somewhat enlarged to include these recent papers, and its format has been altered to conform with standard American practise. The Russian translation of the first edition of this work was criticized for containing relatively little reference to new Russian discoveries. A determined effort has now been made to overcome this weakness, thanks in part to helpful personal contacts, though it must be admitted that formidable difficulties still remain. These stem partly from the linguistic barrier, and partly from the difficulty of obtaining the original publications.

Finally I would like to thank D. Van Nostrand Company (in particular, their Senior Editor, Mr. D. J. Carpenter) for their speed, efficiency and . . .

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