Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Description: This Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product addresses current capabilities to integrate observations of the climate system into a consistent description of past and current conditions through the method of reanalysis. In addition, the Product assesses present capabilities to attribute causes for climate variations and trends over North America during the reanalysis period, which extends from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This Product reviews Past Climate Variability and Change in the Arctic and at High Latitudes. Paleoclimate records play a key role in our understanding of Earth's past and present climate system and in our confidence in predicting future climate changes. Paleoclimate data help to elucidate past and present active mechanisms of climate change by placing the short instrumental record into a longer term context and by permitting models to be tested beyond the limited time that instrumental measurements have been available. Recent observations in the Arctic have identified large ongoing changes and important climate feedback mechanisms that multiply the effects of global-scale climate changes. As discussed in this report, paleoclimate data show that land and sea ice have grown with cooling temperatures and have shrunk with warming ones, amplifying temperature changes while causing and responding to ...
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