|From the desk of Bruce Wilkinson:
|"'As our planet experiences a climate shift of geological proportions', recent advances in paleoclimate research are more important than ever. In this context, a fantastic overview paper by Professor Linda Ivany has just been published by The Paleontological Society as part of a volume that was edited by Linda and Brian Huber (Smithsonian Institution) titled: Reconstructing Earth’s Deep-time Climate - The State of the Art in 2012. The volume resulted from the Paleontological Society short course held during the past GSA Annual meeting in Charlotte. It was dynamite!
Linda’s paper “Reconstructing Paleoseasonality from Accretionary Skeletal Carbonates- Challenges and Opportunities” focuses on the nature of seasonal temperature variation across different latitudes and water depths, and describes biases that result from factors such as seasonal shell growth and year-to-year temperature variability. Although seasonal temperature extremes are important from both a climatic and biologic perspective, not often do geologists have that sort of information about the deep past. Knowledge of winter and summer temperatures are just critical to interpreting estimates of mean annual temperature because those records can be biased by preferential production of proxy materials (like shell carbonate compositions) during one season over another. In addition, seasonal temperature extremes and ranges are part of the output of paleoclimate models, and knowledge of paleoseasonality is just very useful in evaluating different model assumptions. Finally, the geographic distributions of most organisms are limited by seasonal extremes much more than they are by mean annual temperature, and so the effects of climate change on the biota are easier to interpret or predict when seasonal information is available. This is all just good stuff."