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FEATURE ARTICLE

Pliocene Climate Lessons

An ongoing reconstruction of a warmer Earth 3 million years ago helps test climate-change forecasts

Marci M. Robinson

2011-05RobinsonF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageThe middle portion of the Pliocene Epoch—about three million years ago—is the most recent period when global temperatures were sustained at levels comparable to those we may see at the end of this century due to climate change. One way to seek a more accurate view of a warmer Earth is to look closely at that time. Paleoclimate studies of the mid-Pliocene are also emerging as a ground truth for testing the accuracy of computer models used to predict Earth’s future climate.


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