Paleoclimatology, 3rd Edition

Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary

Paleoclimatology, 3rd Edition,Raymond Bradley,ISBN9780123869135


Academic Press




235 X 191

Winner of a 2015 Texty Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association

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Key Features

  • Winner of a 2015 Texty Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association
  • A comprehensive overview of the methods of paleoclimate reconstruction, and the record of past changes in climate during the last ~3 million years
  • Addresses all the techniques used in paleoclimatic reconstruction from climate proxies
  • With full-color throughout, and thoroughly revised chapters on dating methods, climate forcing, ice cores, marine sediments, pollen analysis, dendroclimatology, and historical records
  • Includes new chapters on speleothems, loess, and lake sediments
  • More than 1,000 new references and 190 new figures
  • Essential reading for those interested in how present trends in climate compare with changes that have occurred in the past


Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, Third Edition—winner of a 2015 Textbook Excellence Award (Texty) from The Text and Academic Authors Association—provides a thorough overview of the methods of paleoclimatic reconstruction and of the historical changes in climate during the past three million years.

This thoroughly updated and revised edition systematically examines each type of proxy and elucidates the major attributes and the limitations of each. Paleoclimatology, Third Edition provides necessary context for those interested in understanding climate changes at present and how current trends in climate compare with changes that have occurred in the past. The text is richly illustrated and includes an extensive bibliography for further research.


Advanced undergraduate and graduate students and researchers in climatology, Quaternary sciences, glaciology, archaeology, paleo-oceanography, paleoecology, geomorphology, and palynology.

Raymond Bradley

Raymond S. Bradley has been involved in many national and international activities related to paleoclimatology, most notably as the current Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program on Past Global Changes (IGBP-PAGES). He has published dozens of articles in scientific journals, and has edited several important books in paleoclimatology. The first edition of Quaternary Paleoclimatology has been the definitive text in this field for over a decade. His research is in climatology, specifically in climatic change and the evidence for how the earth’s climate has varied in the past. He has carried out research on climate variation, both on the long (glacial and interglacial) time-scale and on the short (historical and instrumental) time-scale, involving the analysis of data from all over the world. In recent years he has been involved in studies of natural climate variability, to provide a background for understanding potential anthropogenic changes in climate resulting from rapid increases in "greenhouse gases" over the last century or so. R.S. Bradley has been a professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, since 1984. He has been Head of the Department of Geosciences since 1993. Additionally, he is a member of Clare Hall at Cambridge.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

Paleoclimatology, 3rd Edition



Front Cover Photograph

Holocene Rock Art from the Northwestern Flanks of the Ennedi Highlands, Eastern Sahara, Chad



Preface to the Third Edition

Chapter 1. Paleoclimatic Reconstruction


1.1 Introduction

1.2 Sources of Paleoclimatic Information

1.3 Levels of Paleoclimatic Analysis

1.4 Modeling in Paleoclimatic Research


Chapter 2. Climate and Climatic Variation


2.1 The Nature of Climate and Climatic Variation

2.2 The Climate System

2.3 Feedback Mechanisms

2.4 Energy Balance of the Earth and Its Atmosphere

2.5 Timescales of Climatic Variation

2.6 Variations of the Earth’s Orbital Parameters

2.7 Solar Forcing

2.8 Volcanic Forcing


Chapter 3. Dating Methods I


3.1 Introduction and Overview

3.2 Radioisotopic Methods


Chapter 4. Dating Methods II


4.1 Paleomagnetism

4.2 Dating Methods Involving Chemical Changes

4.3 Tephrochronology

4.4 Biological Dating Methods


Chapter 5. Ice Cores


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Stable Isotope Analysis

5.3 Dating Ice Cores

5.4 Paleoclimatic Reconstruction from Ice Cores


Chapter 6. Marine Sediments


6.1 Introduction

6.2 Paleoclimatic Information from Biological Material in Ocean Cores

6.3 Oxygen Isotope Studies of Calcareous Marine Fauna

6.4 Paleotemperatures from Relative Abundance Studies

6.5 Paleotemperature Reconstruction from Sediment Geochemistry

6.6 Oceanographic Conditions at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM)

6.7 Paleoclimatic Information from Inorganic Material in Marine Sediments

6.8 Thermohaline Circulation of the Oceans

6.9 Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: The Role of the Oceans

6.10 Abrupt Climate Changes


Chapter 7. Loess


7.1 Chronology of Loess-Paleosol Sequences

7.2 Paleoclimatic Significance of Loess-Paleosol Sequences


Chapter 8. Speleothems


8.1 Isotopic Variations in Speleothems

8.2 Tropical and Subtropical Paleoclimate Variability from Speleothems

8.3 Speleothems and Glacial Terminations

8.4 Millennial to Centennial Scale Changes

8.5 Late Glacial and Holocene Records

8.6 Stalagmite Records of the Last Two Millennia

8.7 Paleoclimatic Information from Periods of Speleothem Growth

8.8 Speleothems as Indicators of Sea-Level Variations


Chapter 9. Lake Sediments


9.1 Sedimentology and Inorganic Geochemistry

9.2 Varves

9.3 Pollen, Macrofossils, and Phytoliths

9.4 Ostracods

9.5 Diatoms

9.6 Stable Isotopes

9.7 Organic Biomarkers


Chapter 10. Nonmarine Geologic Evidence


10.1 Introduction

10.2 Periglacial Features

10.3 Snowlines and Glaciation Thresholds

10.4 Mountain Glacier Fluctuations

10.5 Lake-level Fluctuations


Chapter 11. Insects and Other Biological Evidence from Continental Regions


11.1 Introduction

11.2 Insects

11.3 Former Vegetation Distribution from Plant Macrofossils

11.4 Peat


Chapter 12. Pollen


12.1 Introduction

12.2 The Basis of Pollen Analysis

12.3 Pollen Rain as a Representation of Vegetation Composition and Climate

12.4 Quantitative Paleoclimatic Reconstructions Based on Pollen Analysis

12.5 Paleoclimatic Reconstruction from Long Quaternary Pollen Records


Chapter 13. Tree Rings


13.1 Introduction

13.2 Fundamentals of Dendroclimatology

13.3 Dendroclimatic Reconstructions

13.4 Isotopic Dendroclimatology


Chapter 14. Corals


14.1 Coral Records of Past Climate

14.2 Paleoclimate from Coral Growth Rates

14.3 Luminescence in Corals

14.4 δ18O in Corals

14.5 δ13C in Corals

14.6 Δ14C in Corals

14.7 Trace Elements in Corals

14.8 Fossil Coral Records


Chapter 15. Historical Documents


15.1 Introduction

15.2 Historical Records and Their Interpretation

15.3 Regional Studies Based on Historical Records

15.4 Records of Climate Forcing Factors

15.5 Climate Paradigms for the Last Millennium


Appendix A. Further Considerations on Radiocarbon Dating

A.1 Calculation of Radiocarbon Age and Standardization Procedure

A.2 Fractionation Effects


Appendix B. Internet Resources in Paleoclimatology



Quotes and reviews

"It is difficult to conceive of the vast amount of work that must have gone into this comprehensive revision, and it is a great service to the international Quaternary research community."-The Holocene

"The book has been thoroughly updated since the previous edition... Valuable for specialist collections...Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations." -CHOICE Reviews Online, Nov 01 2014

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