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Executive Summary
Pages 1-4

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From page 1...
... As greenhouse gas emissions propel Earth toward a warmer climate state, an improved understanding of climate dynamics in warm environments is needed to inform public policy decisions. Research on the climates of Earth's deep past can address several questions that have direct implications for human civilization: How high will atmospheric CO2 levels rise, and how long will these high levels persist?
From page 2...
... These insights particularly include the role of greenhouse gases in causing -- or "forcing" -- global warming; the impact of warming on ice sheet stability, sea level, and on oceanic and hydrological processes; and the consequences of global warming for ecosystems and the global biosphere. As Earth continues to warm, it may be approaching a critical climate threshold beyond which rapid and potentially permanent -- at least on a human timescale -- changes may occur, prompting major societal questions: How soon could abrupt and dramatic climate change occur, and how long could such change persist?
From page 3...
... STRATEGIES AND TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT THE RESEARCH AGENDA Implementing the deep-time paleoclimate research agenda described above will require four key infrastructure and analytical elements: • Development of additional and improved estimates of precipitation, seasonality, aridity, and soil productivity in the geological past. • Continental and ocean drilling transects to collect high-resolution records of past climate events and transitions, to determine climate parameters before and after these events, and to model the dynamic pro cesses causing these transitions.
From page 4...
... 4 UNDERSTANDING EARTH'S DEEP PAST The possibility that our world is moving toward a "green house" future continues to increase as anthropogenic carbon builds up in the atmosphere, providing a powerful motivation for understanding the dynamics of Earth's past "greenhouse" climates that are recorded in the deep-time geological record. An integrated research program -- a deep-time climate research agenda -- to provide a considerably improved understanding of the processes and characteristics over the full range of Earth's potential climate states offers great promise for informing indi viduals, communities, and public policy.

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