Climate, ice sheets and sea level: Lessons from the past

Thursday, 17 May 2018

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Black and white image of fossil plankton

From Antarctic crocodiles to snow and penguins – Earth’s recent geological history is a history of climate change. The geochemistry of tiny fossil plankton provides an opportunity to reconstruct past changes in carbon dioxide concentrations, temperatures and size of ice sheets.

These records can be used to understand how the Earth’s climate system works, including complex feedbacks that amplify climate change. We can use these lessons to improve ice sheet models, with important implications for our predictions of future ice sheet stability and sea level rise.