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This R library is designed to provide an easy way to extract and manipulate palaeoclimate reconstructions for ecological and anthropological analyses. It is also able to handle time series of future reconstructions.

The functionalities of pastclim are described in Leonardi et al. (2023). Please cite it if you use pastclim in your research.

Install the library

pastclim is on CRAN, and the easiest way to install it is with:


The version on CRAN is recommended for every day use. New features and bug fixes appear first on the dev branch on GitHub, before they make their way to CRAN. If you need to have early access to these new features, you can install the development version of pastclim directly from GitHub, using devtools, or more simply get a compiled version from r-universe. Also, note that the dev version of pastclim tracks changes in the dev version of terra, so you will need to upgrade both libraries with:

install.packages('terra', repos='')
install.packages("pastclim", repos = c("")

Overview of functionality

On its dedicated website, you can find Articles giving you a step-by-step overview of the package, and a cheatsheet. There is also a dev version of the site updated for the dev branch of pastclim (on the top left of the dev website, the version number is in red and in the format x.x.x.9xxx, indicating it is a development version).

pastclim currently includes data from Beyer et al 2020 (a reconstruction of climate based on the HadCM3 model for the last 120k years), Krapp et al 2021 (which covers the last 800k years with a statistical emulator of HadCM3), Barreto et al 2023 (covering the last 5M years using the PALEO-PGEM emulator), PaleoClim (providing a few time steps from different palaeoclimate models downscaled to higher resolution), CHELSA-Trace21K (a transient reconstruction of the last 21k years, downscaled to 1km resolution), the HYDE3.3 database of land use reconstructions for the last 10k years, and the WorldClim and CHELSA data (present, and future projections with a number of models and emission scenarios). More details on each of these datasets can be found here. There are also instructions on how to build and use custom datasets.

When something does not work

If something does not work, check the issues on GitHub to see whether the problem has already been reported. If not, feel free to create an new issue. Please make sure you have updated to the latest version of pastclim on CRAN, as well as updating all other packages on your system, and provide a reproducible example for the developers to investigate the problem.