Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Arctic Muds Reveal Sea Ice Record

A new technique to track changes in the extent of Arctic sea ice over the past 1,000 years is being developed by a UK team of the University of Plymouth. The scientists are stying sediments from the sea bed in the fabled Northwest Passage. These muds may cast valuable historical light on why some famous expeditions to the region were successful while others were doomed to failure. The research could also guide computer forecasts of future climate. The reasoning is that, as with tree rings and coral growth, the thin layers of sediment which build up on the ocean floor act as a storehouse of information about the patterns of past conditions. The Plymouth work is being conducted from the Canadian Coast Guard ship, the Amundsen.

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