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Paleoclimatology Datasets

These links provide access to descriptive information and explanatory notes, maps, searches, visualizations, and more. The data cover the globe, and while most span the last few millennia, some datasets extend back in time 100 million years. Most of the data are time series of geophysical or biological measurements and some include reconstructed climate variables such as temperature and precipitation.

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  • Tools for All Proxies
  • Borehole
    Borehole data are direct measurements of temperature from boreholes drilled into the Earth's crust.
  • Climate Forcing
    A variety of data about factors potentially affecting climate such as volcanic eruptions, solar variability, trace gasses and aerosols, and Milankovitch orbital variations.
  • Climate Reconstruction (Estimates of Past Climate)
    Reconstructions of past temperature, precipitation, vegetation, streamflow, sea surface temperature, and other climatic or climate-dependent conditions.
  • Coral and Sclerosponge
    Coral data consisting of stable isotope and trace metal analyses from corals located around the globe.
  • Fauna
    Documentation of mammal distribution that provide a valuable complement to pollen and plant macrofossil data.
  • Fire History
    High-quality paleofire records from around the world including data from tree scars and establishment data and charcoal in sediment records.
  • Historical
    Paleoclimatology indicators derived from historical references and documentary evidence such as church records, harvest dates, and harbor ice free dates.
  • Ice Core
    Data from polar and low latitude mountain glaciers and ice caps including proxy climate indicators like oxygen isotopes, methane concentrations, dust content, and other parameters.
  • Insect
    Climate proxy insect data and insect-based climate reconstructions.
  • Lake Level Reconstruction
    Lake levels fluctuate with changes in moisture balance (precipitation minus evaporation), which can result in fossil shoreline deposits and other features that can be used to derive the climate in the lake basin.
  • Loess and Eolian Dust
    Loess and Eolian dust refer to silt-sized material deposited on the Earth's surface by the surface winds, which provide some of the most dramatic examples of changes in climate.
  • Paleoclimatology Modeling
    Computer climate models that include the physical processes of the climate system to understand past climate and predict future climate change.
  • Paleolimnology (Lake) 
    Paleolimnology is the study of past conditions of inland fresh water bodies; a variety of measurements from lake and bog sediments are used to indicate past water temperature, physical properties, biology, and chemistry.
  • Paleoceanography
    Paleoceanography data are derived from many proxies found in deep sea sediments including trace metal and isotopic composition of fossil plankton, species composition, and lithology.
  • Plant Macrofossil
    Plant macrofossils are preserved remains large enough to be visible without a microscope, and they include leaf, needle, cone, and stem debris and can be used to identify types of plants formerly growing in the area.
  • Pollen
    Pollen grains that are washed or blown into lakes can accumulate in sediments and provide a record of past vegetation, which reflects the vegetation that was present and therefore the climate conditions favorable for that vegetation.
  • Speleothem
    Speleothems (stalagmites, stalactites, and other forms) are mineral deposits formed from groundwater within underground caverns, which may be annually banded or contain compounds that can be radiometrically dated.
  • Tree Ring
    Raw ring width or wood density measurements and site chronologies (growth indices for a site) as well as reconstructed climate parameters for some areas.
  • Other Collections
    The NOAA Paleoclimatology Program distributes archives of a variety of paleoclimatology proxy data, calibration datasets, and published reports on many unique topics.