Deep time

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This page is part of the topic Antarctic climate and environment history in the pre-instrumental period

Geologists have long held to the principle that “the present is the key to the past”. Equally, the past may hold clues about the future that can be teased out from the geological record, particularly for environmental scenarios in past high CO2 greenhouse worlds for which there are no current modern analogues, such as forests in polar regions. Palaeorecords show that profound changes in earth’s past climate have followed well-defined patterns and shifts on time scales of thousands to millions of years. Hence studies of the past can be useful in providing insights into how the system responds and what can be expected to occur in response to future change.

Pages in this topic

  1. The Greenhouse world - from the breakup of Gondwana to 34 million years ago
  2. The Icehouse world - the last 34 million years