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Ancient Climates

The sediment at the bottom of the sea and in the polar glaciers of the world hide information within them that tell the story of all the past climates the world has ever endured. Climate change is not something new to our planet, it is something that naturally occurs over time. The Earth has experienced many different climates over millions of years. For scientists to better understand what ecosystems and landscapes looked like during these different climates, they drill deep into glaciers and into the ocean's sediment to find pieces of the past essentially frozen in time.

The study of ancient climates is called paleoclimatology. The scientists who research this field use a tool called proxy records to dig out information about ancient climates. Proxy records are found in natural elements such as sediment, ice sheets, layers in coral, and even rings in trees which can give us information about the climate from thousands to hundreds of thousands of years ago. Instrumental data that has been created by the use of thermometers and weather instruments can only tell us less than 200 years worth of climate data. Having the ability to use and research proxy records from all over the world is definitive in understanding how the climate has transformed and adjusted over thousands of years before humans were even around.

Paleoclimatology is a very important study because it allows scientists to decipher the differences between past climate change and how climate change is evolving now. The research gives insight into what we should be preparing for and how quickly we could be progressing to a dangerous stage based on what the Earth has produced in the past. Many people from across the globe do not understand that climate change is a cyclical event. The main reason climate change is so highly talked about and publicized today is that it is increasing at an abnormal rate and is causing disruption to our Earth's natural patterns because of human carbon emissions. Scientists and engineers from all over the world rage about lowering emissions in every way we possibly can to cut them out, to help slow climate change.


1.“6A: Records of the Past: Predictions for the Future.” Climate and the Biosphere, 24 Aug. 2021,

2.“How Do Scientists Study Ancient Climates?” National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), 22 Oct. 2021,

3.“How Do We Know so Much about Ancient Climates?” College of the Environment,

4.“Know Your Ocean.” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 30 May 2018,

5.“Why Study Past Climate?: AMNH.” American Museum of Natural History,


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