FSU Grad Student Studies Ancient Weather Patterns

By: Nate Harrington Email
By: Nate Harrington Email

Tallahassee, FL -- February 9, 2012 --

Oceanography graduate student Darrel Tremaine never thought his research of ancient weather patterns would lead him here...to the caves of Northwest Florida.

He's using stalagmites that have grown in these caves to determine what the weather was like millenia ago.

Darrel Tremaine says, "Pretty amazing. When you go into a cave, you take a look around and you realize this cave's maybe been here, a million years. And the formations, we have them dated back to 25,000 years, when the Earth was last glaciated."

It's kind of like the rings on a tree..a cross-section of underground stalagmite can tell Tremaine tons of information about the weather above ground thousands of years ago, like how much rain fell and what temperatures were like.

"The variations in the oxygen and carbon inside the stalagmites tell you a story about the micro climate, what's going on inside the cave and outside the cave.

The ultimate goal of his research is chart these ancient weather patterns and provide base information for long-term climate forecasts.

"Gather as much information as we can to inform these global climate models that are going on so we can predict, if atmospheric CO2 is going up, what are the temperatures on Earth going to look like, what is sea-level going to do. And the way we do that is by looking backwards in time."


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  • by Roland on Feb 11, 2012 at 04:56 AM
    Science studies the history of a virus in order to create a vaccine. In order to create a cure, one must understand the nature of the disease--how it started, how it's changing... Climate is more complex than any disease and deadlier too.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 11, 2012 at 04:52 AM
    Hmmmm... Ax grinding and man-made global warming. In order to create vaccines, a scientist looks at the history of the virus: it's mobility, it's origin, it's changes. Then they are able to generate a method for developing a vaccine. Whatever the climate does in the future, it is worth studying how it's behaved in the past, just like a virus.
  • by Gerry on Feb 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM
    Bill Clinton changed how unemployment was calculated in 1994.....things are much worse than our government is telling us.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Feb 10, 2012 at 03:28 AM
    Perhaps at one time there were real scientists. Men and women who had no ax to grind about an issue they researched and who presented their findings honestly. Unfortunately, many of today's scientists are tainting their "science" with their personal views and beliefs, resulting in a loss of faith in all scientists and their findings by the rest of us. What a shame.
  • by Gerry on Feb 9, 2012 at 05:27 PM
    I bet the results will be man made global warming.....
    • reply
      by Gerry on Feb 9, 2012 at 06:20 PM in reply to Gerry
      Who would benefit if anthropogenic global warming is real and is ignored for say, 5 more years? How much of the value of oil companies is in deposits which are owned but not yet extracted? Would it be a bad thing to lessen the US's energy dependence on Russian oligarchs and Saudi princes?
      • reply
        by Scary Gerry on Feb 10, 2012 at 05:18 AM in reply to Gerry
        Stereotyping foreigners....not surprised, and you confirm my theory that liberals already have the results before their hypothesis is even tested.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Feb 10, 2012 at 07:49 AM in reply to Scary Gerry
          This is genius level posting. The US needs to import oil, can't meet its own energy demands. The US relies on foreigners. I'm not surprised you uses an ad hoc handle. Who would want to be associated with your remarks?
        • reply
          by Gerry on Feb 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM in reply to Scary Gerry
          Government is why we are importing middle eastern oil. dumbo blocking pipelines and spending money on windmills, soyndra and solar panel made in china
    • reply
      by Gerry on Feb 9, 2012 at 06:33 PM in reply to Gerry
      I know what you mean. Librul biologists do experiments and they always confirm the theory of evolution. Librul physicists do experiments and they always confirm the theory of gravity.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Feb 9, 2012 at 03:44 PM
    This is crazy talk, science gone wild. When I read something like this, I always seek consolation in my Bible. I need to find out what the Bible says about glaciers and glaciated. The Republican neo-Confederate Party is anti-science and pro-Bible and teaches us that climate can't be changed by men, even 7 billion men. This man is clearly a librul scientist.
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