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Title: An integrated approach to palaeoenvironmental reconstruction using GIS
Author: Broadgate, Marianne L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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The data, methods and research organisation involved in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and paleoclimatic investigation are analysed to establish the research requirements that information systems approaches must support. The issues of using GIS technology in general and for palaeoenvironmental research in particular are then explored to ascertain how computing technology is currently being used in palaeoenvironmental work, how this could be enhanced, and what further work is required. A conceptual model (PERIS, PalaeoEnvironmental Research and Information System) and organisational framework is then proposed which would support international palaeoenvironmental research and allow coherent development by maximising the use of current resources and capitalising on existing data, techniques and knowledge. A role for GIS is thus established in the context of international collaboration and individual scientific endeavour and a clear path of development is provided for the production of a system which is flexible enough to accommodate changes in ideas and theories. Two case studies are used to exemplify the issues involved and illustrate the conceptual and methodological approaches generated. These focus on the creation of a system to handle data and explore theories associated with sea level change and glacial geomorphology for the Scandinavian area in North West Europe during the last glacial-interglacial cycle. These data sets play an important role in the reconstruction of ice sheet evolution and related environmental parameters to derive knowledge about the controls on and consequences of climate change. They are felt to be representative of the variety of data available and methods used, and serve as a basis for identifying the issues. The adoption of GIS technology for research makes the inherent issues in this study, which it has been possible to avoid addressing until now, more immediate, and therefore implementing GIS supported research must revolutionise the way in which scientific work is conducted. Conventional methods of research and collaboration will have to adapt and will become more rigorous in order to exploit GIS technology. In addition there are important areas in GIS technology that need further development to allow flexible handling of palaeoenvironmental data for reconstruction purposes. These issues are examined, and the utility of the conceptual PERIS model is explored in some detail, using the case studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available