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Pliocene Terrestrial Environments and Data/Model Comparisons

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 94-023
Version 1.0

Edited by Robert S. Thompson


Over the last several years, the U.S. Geological Survey's PRISM (Pliocene Research, Interpretation, and Synoptic Mapping Project) project has accumulated information for a "snapshot" description of global marine and terrestrial conditions for the mid Pliocene, the last period in Earth history when globally warm conditions persisted over hundreds of thousands of years. PRISM researchers and collaborators are analyzing time series of environmental changes both marine and nonmarine settings to determine the amplitude and periodicity of Pliocene climatic changes, and are assembling gridded data sets of vegetation cover to provide boundary conditions for General Circulation Model (GCM) simulations. Palynological and other terrestrial data will also being employed in validation exercises of Pliocene climate simulations provided by researchers using Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) GCMs.

As part of this effort, the U.S. Geological Survey Global Change and Climate History Program sponsored a workshop on "Pliocene Terrestrial Environments and Data/Model Comparisons," which was held in Herndon, Virginia, on May 22 and 23, 1993. This report presents the abstracts from the Herndon workshop. The primary objectives of this meeting were to review the available data on mid-Pliocene terrestrial environments, and to provide a forum for geological researchers and climate modelers to discuss the uses of palynological and other terrestrial environmental data in initializing and validating GCM simulations of past climates.


1. Open-File Report 94-023 - HTML file
2. Open-File Report 94-023 - Text file

This open-file report is available for purchase from:

USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
telephone: 303-202-4210; e-mail:


This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards or with the North American Stratigraphic code. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Although all data and software released with this open file have been used by the USGS, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by the USGS as to the accuracy of the data and related materials and (or) the functioning of the software.

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