By H. J. B. Birks (auth.), F. M. Chambers (eds.)
I am happy to offer this quantity of invited stories and examine case stories, produced to mark the retirement of Professor A. G. Smith - one of many major researchers in Holocene palaeoecology. A. G. Smith took his first measure on the collage of Sheffield, graduating in 1951 with a first class honours measure in Botany. His doctorate used to be presented in 1956 for a examine in late-Quaternary vege tational background, dependent within the Sub-Department of Quaternary examine on the college of Cambridge, lower than the supervision of the past due Sir Harry Godwin, FRS. He then researched and taught at Queen's college, Belfast, from 1954, major the Nuffield Quaternary study Unit there, changing into Co-Director of the Palaeoecology Laboratory from 1964. He used to be appointed Professor and Head of the dep. of Botany (later, Plant technological know-how) at collage university, Cardiff, in 1973, and retired from the college of natural and utilized Biology on the renamed collage of Wales collage, Cardiff, in August 1991. even though his important pursuits were eager about the post-glacial environmental heritage of the British Isles, Professor Smith has considerably in fluenced many researchers in different places of their interpretation of organic and different facts for human amendment of the ordinary environment.
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Extra resources for Climate Change and Human Impact on the Landscape: Studies in palaeoecology and environmental archaeology
At the same time as the tree-ring chronologies were growing, Gordon Pearson was refining the radiocarbon measurement process towards a goal of a precision better than ± 20 years and, more importantly an accuracy (lack of bias) that was equally good (Pearson, 1979). , 1977). , 1986). A calibration back to about 9000 years should appear soon. g. O'Connell, 1990b), but it is clear that a calibration curve with wiggles severely limits the ability of the method to resolve small time differences and to answer the phytogeographic questions of plant migrations that the pollen analyst might be asking.
They will often be built, at least initially, on data acquired from past research not directly related either to the present research agenda or to the task in hand for the database builder. Nevertheless, the quality of the data is of critical concern and its current significance gives 'posthumous' validation to the best products of the inductive approach, and especially to its emphasis on the retrieval of high-quality detailed information rather than on the more intellectually economical selection and presentation of no more than is necessary to test hypotheses.
We therefore have too little objective indication of what the important questions are. Tests of mutual consistency between model simulations and reconstructions derived from proxy records often lack the recourse to verifiable reality that might independently validate the one, before it, in tum, has to do service in validating the other. The imprecise and unvalidated nature of current global climate models actually reduces the demands made on palaeoenvironmental research in terms of accuracy and precision.