Archives of Nature and Archives of Societies
Paleoclimatology and historical climatology share a common goal of reconstructing past climates, but they draw on different sources of evidence. Paleoclimatologists work primarily with physical remains left by natural processes, what this volume calls the “archives of nature.” Historical climatologists work primarily with written and physical sources left by humans, what this volume calls the “archives of societies.” Each type of evidence has certain strengths and weaknesses with respect to accuracy, precision, dependability, homogeneity, and relevance to human history. Both depend on the careful analysis of “proxies,” or indirect representations of past climate. Current climate history draws on both types of evidence to understand how climate and weather influenced human history.
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