Scientists have developed ingenious ways to reconstruct Earth's climate history. Using a wide variety of techniques, paleoclimatologists can know something of the climate of the far distant past and much more about the climate of the more recent past. Ice cores are the most valuable tool and allow scientists to understand the climate on time-scales of up to hundreds of thousands of years. Ocean sediments reveal similar data for timescales of up to tens of millions of years. Sedimentary rocks yield climate secrets from even further back. Local climate information can be determined using many other techniques, such as tree rings. After scientists compile all of the relevant climate information, they create climate models that describe the past and attempt to predict the future. Some of what these scientists have learned about past climate will be discussed in the following chapter.

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