What do month-to-month changes in temperature have to do with century-to-century changes in temperature? At first it might seem like not much. But in a report published in this week’s Nature, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found some unifying themes in the global variations of temperature at time scales ranging from a single season to hundreds of thousands of years. These findings help place climate observed at individual places and times into a larger global and temporal context.
“Much of the work went into assembling the different types of records needed to study such diverse time scales”, said Peter Huybers, a paleoclimatologist in the Geology and Geophysics Department at WHOI and lead author on the study. “Data from instruments from around the world are available for recent periods, but it is not so easy for earlier times. We have few instrumental records before the 19th century, so we have to use measurements in corals, ice cores, and sediment cores to estimate past temperatures”.
These measurements and data compilations were made by scientists at WHOI and other research institutions. “While none of the measurements we use are new,” Huybers said, “putting them together told us more than we could learn from any single record.”
Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
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