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Quaternary temperatures and precipitation for the north-west coast of North America

Nature volume 286, pages 702704 (14 August 1980) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Palynologists utilize present-day pollen rain to interpret the climatic setting of pollen records from Quaternary deposits. Analogues are sought which relate the present with the past. Because climatic conditions at mid-latitudes during the Quaternary were diverse, often ranging from a tundra type at one extreme to a closed forest type at the other, a modern data set should cover the extremes of vegetation and climate expected during this time. For interpreting climatic parameters from Quaternary pollen in land and marine cores, we calculated a pair of regression equations relating modern pollen rain from the Pacific coastal forest and tundra to mean July temperature and mean annual precipitation at a series of sites from the Aleutian Islands to northern California. We describe here how application of these equations to Quaternary pollen profiles from western Washington enabled us to quantify temperature and precipitation over the past 80,000 yr.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biology, New York University, Box 608, Tuxedo, New York 10987

    • C. J. Heusser
    •  & L. E. Heusser
  2. Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964

    • L. E. Heusser
    •  & S. S. Streeter

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/286702a0

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