Marine Climate Archives

Reconstructing the ocean and climate processes of the past will enable us to make well-founded statements about the future. Continuous and reliable instrumental measurement series, even of simple parameters such as air and water temperatures, exist for the last 150 years at most. This is far too short to provide information about long-term climate developments, because these take place over centuries, millennia or even millions of years. In order to obtain data from the past, climate researchers take samples from various natural climate archives, from which the environmental conditions of past times, such as temperature, fluctuations in sea level or the composition of the air and ocean, can be derived.

What are natural climate archives?

Depending on the type of sample used, information on different climate elements can be obtained, with tree rings and corals providing data from relatively short periods of time, but at a high temporal resolution. Ice cores from ice sheets or glaciers can reflect annual differences up to 1 billion years ago. Marine sediments, on the other hand, show a very coarse temporal resolution, but contain climate data reaching far back into the Earth's historical past.

At GEOMAR, both sediment cores and coral samples are studied. Oceanic environmental conditions are not stored directly in sediments or corals, but have to be determined indirectly via so-called proxies.


The History of the Pacific

The expedition SO264 Emperor with the German research vessel SONNE aimed to reconstruct the climatic and oceanographic conditions of the North Pacific in the past. For this purpose, the team of 38 researchers from eleven nations, led by Prof. Dr. Dirk Nürnberg from GEOMAR's Paleo-Oceanography research unit, collected sediment samples for the first time continuously in largely unexplored offshore regions along the line of the Emperor volcanic chain.

Research News: Marine Climate Archives

An ice edge by the sea in the sunshine

Funding for Cutting-Edge Research in Climate and Marine Sciences

ERC Consolidator Grants awarded to two scientists at GEOMAR

Model simulation of the surface flow speed in the Atlantic

How salt from the Caribbean affects our climate

Study explores link between salinity, ocean currents and climate

A drill ship on the open sea

Past climate warming driven by hydrothermal vents

New study shows volcanism 56 million years ago released more methane than thought

Researchers on board a ship set up the trace metal clean rosette water sampler.

Rio Pará contributes high trace metal concentrations to the Amazon estuary

Overlooked riverine inputs of dissolved neodymium and hafnium to the ocean

Launch of a gravity corer

Can the future of the Gulf Stream system be read from sediments?

Analyses of core analyses suggest instability of oceanic heat transport