Ecologists and oceanographers are attempting to predict future climate based on that of the past.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of Chuck Greene, Cornell
Ecologists Use Oceanographic Data to Predict Future Climate Change
News story originally written on November 7, 2008
Scientists have been looking at the climates of the past in the Arctic region, and they think this information can help predict what might happen with the Earth's climate in the future.
The scientists looked at the patterns of climate change in the Arctic over the last 65 million years. In that time, the Earth has undergone different periods of warming and cooling. When the Earth warms, sea ice in the Arctic gets smaller; when the Earth cools, Arctic sea ice expands.
After studying the ocean currents of the Arctic Ocean and the Northern Atlantic Ocean, the scientists have learned that ocean circulation changes when the Earth's climate is warmer or cooler. Dr Charles Greene, the lead scientist of this study, explains that when the climate changes and gets warmer in Arctic, waters in the Arctic Ocean send freshwater that has melted south to the North Atlantic Ocean. Once these waters flow to the south, they change the ocean circulation patterns and change the temperature of the water. These changes impact what life can live in different parts of the worlds oceans and affects the Earth's climate, possibly making the climate cool due to the changes in ocean circulation.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
In the Arctic, you will find the Arctic Ocean surrounded by the continents of Europe, Asia, and North America. You will find the geographic North Pole and the magnetic North Pole there; both are in the...more
Sea ice is frozen seawater. It floats on the oceans that are in Earth's polar regions. The salt in the seawater does not freeze. Very salty water gets trapped in the sea ice when it forms. The pockets...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more
Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like while the tree was alive. This means that tree rings can tell us about climates of the past. Two...more