The global climate changes that led to the expansion and contraction of high latitude ice sheets during the Quaternary period were associated with equally dramatic changes in tropical environments. These included shifts in vegetation zones, changes in the hydrology and ecology of lakes and rivers, and fluctuations in the size of mountain glaciers and s andy deserts. Until recently it was thought that such changes were triggered by fluctuations in the distribution of polar ice cover. Now there is increasing recognition that the tropics themselves have acted as drivers of global climate change over a range of timescales.
The aim of Quaternary Environmental Change in the Tropics is to provide a synthesis of the changes that occurred in tropical terrestrial and marine systems during the Pleistocene and Holocene, complementing data-derived reconstructions with output from state-of-the-art climate models. It is targeted at final-year undergraduate students and research specialists, but will provide an introduction to tropical Quaternary research for a variety of other readers.
List of contributors, xi
I Global contexts, 1
1 Introduction, 3
2 Importance of the tropics, 4
II Regional environmental change, 45
3 Advances in modelling, 12
4 Drivers of tropical environmental change, 17
5 The tropics as drivers of change, 20
6 Extra-tropical forcing, 24
7 Organisation of the volume, 24
8 Directions for future research, 129
III Global syntheses, 313
9 Fluvial records, 171
10 Cave deposits, 176
11 Past environmental changes, future environmental challenges, 392
Sarah Metcalfe is Professor of Earth and Environmental Dynamics at the University of Nottingham, UK. She has published extensively on environmental change in Latin America, with a particular focus on Mexico. Although primarily a palaeolimnologist, her approach is very much multi-proxy, including the use of historical and instrumental records to help to improve our understanding of recent change. David Nash is Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Brighton, UK. He is widely known for his publications on the reconstruction of historical climate changes in southern Africa, as well as his broader research into the contemporary and Quaternary geomorphology of dryland regions including the Kalahari, Atacama and southern Europe. His research uses methods ranging from scanning electron microscopy and thin-section analysis to the interpretation of historical documents.