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This book views the Earth's climate as a global system, by describing the evolution of climate throughout the past 600 million years, from the Cambrian to the Quaternary. Palaeoclimates are examined in terms of Cold and Warm modes--phases during which the Earth's climates were either relatively cool with ice forming in high latitudes or when high levels of CO2 led to greenhouse warmings and temperate floras and faunas inhabited polar regions. Evidence for climate changes, such as biological indicators, geochemical parameters, and the presence of ice, are compared between these modes. These studies have highlighted the crucial role of tectonics and continental distribution in governing ocean circulation, the distribution of sea ice, sea level changes and global temperature distribution. Orbital forcing and the carbon cycle are also shown as important influences, particularly on short term climatic variations.
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