SEDIMENT LAYERS IN different types of depositional settings, which include floodplains, and the bottom of lakes, rivers, and oceans, can provide a useful archive of past climatic conditions over the last few decades to tens of thousands of years ago. Such sediment records are routinely used to reconstruct natural variability in past environmental conditions, as well as anthropogenic-driven changes in contemporary climate, including changes in effective moisture (the difference between precipitation and evaporation); temperature; atmospheric circulation patterns; wind regimes; sources, diversity, and productivity of organic matter; partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere; and paleomagnetic properties of the surrounding environment.

The sedimentary record of past climate change can be made up of biogenic, radiochemical, and magnetic components. Derivation of such information from sediments is ...

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