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PaST (Paleoenvironmental Standard Terms) Thesaurus

The World Data Service for Paleoclimatology defines measured variables using a thesaurus of standard terms. These terms describe the quantity measured, the material on which it was measured, reported error, units, analytical or statistical methods, transformations made to raw data, reconstructed seasonality, data type, and data format. Standard terms organize heterogeneous paleoclimate datasets and improve the findability, interoperability, and reusability of data.

The PaST thesaurus is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1545762 and is maintained by the WDS-Paleo. We require data contributors to use these terms, or to propose new terms, when submitting their data. All users can access a search by measurement type on the WDS-Paleo advanced search. For additional questions about the thesaurus, please contact

For data contibutors:

Variable Naming Guide

PaST Thesaurus Navigator

Other contribution information

For all users:

Search by standardized measurement terms

Other information:

Thesaurus governance

*Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.