Past climates inform our future. Academic Article uri icon


  • As the world warms, there is a profound need to improve projections of climate change. Although the latest Earth system models offer an unprecedented number of features, fundamental uncertainties continue to cloud our view of the future. Past climates provide the only opportunity to observe how the Earth system responds to high carbon dioxide, underlining a fundamental role for paleoclimatology in constraining future climate change. Here, we review the relevancy of paleoclimate information for climate prediction and discuss the prospects for emerging methodologies to further insights gained from past climates. Advances in proxy methods and interpretations pave the way for the use of past climates for model evaluation-a practice that we argue should be widely adopted.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 571.286

author list (cited authors)

  • Tierney, J. E., Poulsen, C. J., Montaez, I. P., Bhattacharya, T., Feng, R., Ford, H. L., ... Zhang, Y. G.

citation count

  • 215

complete list of authors

  • Tierney, Jessica E||Poulsen, Christopher J||Montañez, Isabel P||Bhattacharya, Tripti||Feng, Ran||Ford, Heather L||Hönisch, Bärbel||Inglis, Gordon N||Petersen, Sierra V||Sagoo, Navjit||Tabor, Clay R||Thirumalai, Kaustubh||Zhu, Jiang||Burls, Natalie J||Foster, Gavin L||Goddéris, Yves||Huber, Brian T||Ivany, Linda C||Kirtland Turner, Sandra||Lunt, Daniel J||McElwain, Jennifer C||Mills, Benjamin JW||Otto-Bliesner, Bette L||Ridgwell, Andy||Zhang, Yi Ge

publication date

  • November 2020