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The past – a window on the future

Rapid climate change as a result of human industrial activity will inevitably have an impact on life on Earth within the next 100 years. Yet accurately predicting the nature and scale of this change remains a challenge for scientists and their models. The record of past changes in the Earth contained in the rocks, fossils and ice is a valuable resource.

ice core drilling

Scientists can use these natural archives to understand the sensitivity of specific environments and ecologies to increased atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. With its integrated scientific and logistical expertise, BAS is ideally placed to to extract this information and understand the response of physical and biological systems to past environmental change.   For example; understanding “deep geological time” provides a unique opportunity to investigate extreme climatic events that dramatically changed the entire planet.

Steve Roberts with lake sediment core

These studies provide data essential for testing complex models, a step that will improve confidence when similar models are used for projection of future changes.