A key component when forecasting what the Earth’s climate might look like in the future is the ability to draw on accurate temperature records of the past.
A key component when forecasting what the Earth’s climate might look like in the future is the ability to draw on accurate temperature records of the past. By reconstructing past latitudinal temperature gradients (the difference in average temperature between the equator and the poles) researchers can predict where, for example, the jet stream, which controls storms and temperatures in the mid-latitudes (temperate zones between the tropics and the polar circles), will be positioned. The trouble is, many of the existing data are biased toward particular regions or types of environments, not painting a full picture of Earth’s ancient temperatures.
Researchers from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, including Emily Judd ’20, Ph.D., Thonis Family Assistant Professor Tripti Bhattacharya and Professor Linda Ivany, have published a study titled, “A dynamical framework for interpreting ancient sea surface temperatures,” in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, to help account for the offset between location-biased paleoclimate data and the “true” average temperature at a given latitude through Earth’s history. Their work was funded by the National Science Foundation.
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