What do month-to-month temperature fluctuations 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 peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found some indications that seasonal fluctuations indicate what’s going on in the big picture, when it comes to climate change?even on the macro scale of hundreds of thousands of years.
Climatologist Peter Huybers says part of the problem is that, “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.”
What climatologists are trying to do is to figure out what’s going to happen in the future, so they can make plans about such essential things as where to grow food and relocate people (if necessary). Huybers says, “Climate varies at all time scales, from months to millions of years and longer. These changes are often studied independently of one another, but we now have a clearer idea of how climate change is linked across time scales. These insights may help us to better understand past temperature changes, improve our models of the climate, and maybe even predict future climate change.”
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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