Proxy Climate Data

Key Terms
sediments, ice cores, coral reefs, tree rings

Review Questions

1. What are proxy climate data? How are they different from the instrumental data? Can a thermometer be exposed under sunlight when it is used to measure air temperature? Give your reasons.

2. What are the commonly used proxy data for climate studies? Where are they distributed? What climate information (or variables) can they tell us? What are their time spans and resolutions? How does the importance of each type of proxy data change according to the time scale being examined?

3. Why are ocean sediments and ice cores so important to study the past climate?

The sediments are a sort of epic poem of the Earth."
-Rachel Carson

Unfortunately, this poem is written in a language we don't understand. Its author is, of course, the Earth herself, through a suite of processes both familiar and mysterious: river floods, coastal storms, earthquakes, land slides, and so on.

Additional Readings:

Last updated on 03/03/10 04:43 PM by Rong Fu