Dearing, John, "Climate-Human-Environment Interactions: Resolving Our Past"

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Dearing, John. “Climate-Human-Environment Interactions: Resolving Our Past.” Climate of the Past 2, no. 2 (2006): 187-203. The paper reviews how we can learn from the past about climate-human-environment interactions at the present time, and in the future. It focuses on data sources for environmental change at local/regional and regional/global spatial scales, and shows the scope and limitations of each. It reviews alternative methods for learning from the past, including the increasing use of simulation models. [...] The paper concludes that a full understanding of causes of earth system change through (at least) the Holocene can come only through the most rigorous reconstructions of climate, human activities and earth processes, and importantly their interactions, at all locations and at all scales. It follows that we need to promote inter-scale learning: regionalization and generalization of existing data would be useful first steps. There is now a need to develop long-term simulation models that can help anticipate complex ecosystem behavior and environmental processes in the face of global environmental change—and resolving our past is an essential element in that endeavor. (From the author's abstract.) Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. © John Dearing 2006. Made available on the Environment & Society Portal for nonprofit educational purposes only, courtesy of Copernicus GmbH and the European Geosciences Union.