Past Climates: Tree Thermometers, Commodities, and People by Leona Marshall Libby

Past Climates: Tree Thermometers, Commodities, and People

byLeona Marshall LibbyForeword byRainer Berger

Paperback | January 23, 2015

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Leona Marshall Libby was a pioneer in modern climatic research, a field that gained great impetus in the late twentieth century because of the promise it holds for predicting future climatic trends. Libby’s work led to remarkable new procedures for investigating long-term changes in precipitation and temperature and thereby greatly expanding our knowledge of past climates.

As Professor Rainer Berger writes in his foreword:

 “In recent years, tree ring–based temperature data have been collected which go far beyond the records available to historians. These data can be analyzed by Fourier transforms which identify certain periodicities. . . . Climatic changes detected by tree rings have been checked against historic records. . . . The correspondence is astonishing. . . . 

“At present weather forecasting is becoming more accurate for periods on the order of days, weeks, and months. Climatic prognoses have also been attempted for very long times of tens of thousands of years. But the intermediate range in the decades and centuries has so far been an enigma. It is here where tree ring thermometry plays its trump cards.

 “. . . Its potential is enormous in assessing worldwide crop yields, water inventory, heating requirements, stockpiling policies, and construction planning as well as political and military prospects.”

About The Author

Leona Marshall Libby (1919–1986) was Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles. As a member of the Manhattan Project, she participated in the design, building, and operation of the first nuclear reactor.

Details & Specs

Title:Past Climates: Tree Thermometers, Commodities, and PeopleFormat:PaperbackDimensions:158 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 23, 2015Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292741294

ISBN - 13:9780292741294

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

  • Foreword (Rainer Berger)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Introduction: The Discovery of Isotopes
  • 1. Principles
  • 2. The Experimental Approach
    • History and Technology
    • Sample Preparation
    • Recent Trees and Thermometer Records
    • Old Trees and Surrogate Evidence
    • Climate Periods
    • The Bioorganic Reservoir
    • Other Climate Indicators: Commodities, Prices, and Wages
  • 3. Human Interaction with Climate
    • The Relation of Tree Thermometry to Meteorology and Geophysical Climate Assessment
    • Early Hominid Evolution in Changing Climates
    • Cultural and Climatic Changes during the Pleistocene
    • The Spread into the Climate of Europe
    • The Adaptability of Cro-Magnons to Many Climates
    • Human Mitigation of Climate: Shoes
  • Appendix 1. Equations Explanatory of the Text
  • Appendix 2. The Slope of Eight
  • Appendix 3. The Theory of Isotope Fractionation in Cellulose
  • Name Index