cod. 07474

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - First semester
- Elena TURCO
Academic discipline
Paleontologia e paleoecologia (GEO/01)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide students with the tools to deal with the classical problems or the most recent developments of paleoclimatology through the knowledge and understanding of the basic elements that allow the reconstruction of evolution of the environments and the climate of the past in a chronological framework.



Course unit content

The course deals with: 1) Earth’s modern climate and processes; 2) the broad details of Earth’s climate history and in particular for the
past 250 Ma; 3) the main proxies used to reconstruct past climates; 4) the Greenhouse effect and role of the carbon cycle in Earth’s climate; 5) the role of ice sheets, ocean circulation, and orbital parameters and insolation on Earth’s climate; 6) changes in sea level related to climate change; 7) main climate characteristics of the last 2 ka

Full programme

Introduction to the climate and thermal balancing
Archives and proxy introduction-
General concepts on stable isotopes
Oxygen isotopes as paleoclimate proxy and stratigraphy
Cycle of Carbon, carbon Isotopes , Clatrates, primary productivity
Other Proxies
Astronomical control of radiation
Planet evolution and Faint Sun Paradox
Snowball Earth Hypothesis
Mesozoic: Pangea-Trias
Mesozoic: Jurassic climate
Mesozoic: Climate of the Cretaceous
Cenozoic: Paleocene-Eocene climate: hyperthermals.
The transition from Greenhouse to Icehouse
Cenozoic: Climate of the Oligocene-Miocene,
Cenozoic; Climate of the Pliocene: the role of the Panama Strait
Messinian: Mediterranean Sea evolution, Salinity Crisis
Astronomical theory of the climate
Climate Pliocene and glaciations Pleistocene
Mid Pleistocene Revolution (MPR)
Mediterranean Sapropels: causes
Climatic changes and Humans
Heinrich events
Younger Dryas and Holocene
Global warming and the future


- Material used during the lectures (slides, scientific papers)
- Ruddiman W., 2008. Earth's Climate Past and Future. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York.
- Cronin T.M., 2010. Paleoclimates: Understanding Climate Change Past and Present. Columbia University Press

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures with multimedia tools, practical application of concepts through exercises in the classroom

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam to verify the knowledge and understanding, the capability of applying knowledge and understanding regarding the topics treated during the course and the communication skills.

Other information

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