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Getting to the Core of Climate Change:
How can we use ice core data from the polar regions to investigate changes in Earth's climate past, present, and future?

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20,000 years ago much of North America was in the grip of an ice age, covered with a sheet of ice over a mile thick. 100 million years ago the Earth was much warmer than today. The central part of North America was submerged under a shallow ocean due to elevated sea level. How can the climate change so drastically? Could dramatic changes happen again? How might that affect your area?

Evidence about past climates comes from a variety of sources such as ocean sediments, fossils, and tree rings. The most detailed continuous record of the Earth's climate comes from cores taken from the enormous ice sheets that Greenland and Antarctica. Might these ice cores tell us something about the future?

Resources and Reference Materials
Sites appropriate for Students:

www.epa.gov/globalwarming.htm site designed for students age 5-12 with general information about a varriety of climate change topics

tea.rice.edu/tea_shuteyfrontpage.html TEA who spent time working with ice cores. Good pictures of researchers in the field taking ice core samples, and written from a teachers point of view.

www.imag-n-that.com/NOAA/www/icecore.htm short simple background on ice cores, including graphical information for 110,000 years

Sites appropriate for teachers or high school students: nicl.usgs.gov National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, CO. Includes information about both polar regions, excellent maps and images and readable text.

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