Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 19 Issue 04

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Volume 19, No. 4
Pages 40 - 45

Rapid Climate Change and Climate Surprises: A Look Back and Ahead

Gabriel M. Filippelli Catherine Souch
First Paragraph

One of the great successes of scientific ocean drilling has been the identification of rapid and extreme climate-change events in oceanic sediments. The comprehensive coverage and analytical toolkit applied to these marine records has enabled us to understand some of the key drivers of climate change and to quantify the global impacts that climate change has had on the ocean and land. Sediment cores recovered from well-placed drilling sites contain climate-change records at human (i.e., millennial) timescales, in deep time like the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and in the more recent glacial/interglacial interval (both topics the subject of articles in this issue). These high-resolution records bring some promise that we can begin to understand how the Earth system responded to drivers of climate change in the past, and perhaps how these systems might respond in a world increasingly dominated by human-altered biogeochemical cycles. Hope for an integrated understanding of climate change gets even brighter when these marine records are combined with terrestrial and ice-core data and oceanographic and atmospheric modeling to build coupled and, perhaps, predictive scenarios of past and future climate change.


Filippelli, G.M., and C. Souch. 2006. Rapid climate change and climate surprises: A look back and ahead. Oceanography 19(4):40–45, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.03.