Coral tells own tale about El Nino's past


Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb samples an ancient coral for radiometric dating. She is part of a team of Rice University and Georgia Tech scientists using data from coral fossils to build a record of temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the last millennium. Credit: Cobb Lab

There is no longer a need to guess what ocean temperatures were like in the remote tropical Pacific hundreds of years ago. The ancient coral that lived there know all.

A study in Science led by Rice University and Georgia Tech researchers parses the record archived by ancient tropical Pacific coral over the past millennium. That record could help scientists refine their models of how changing conditions in the Pacific, particularly from volcanic eruptions, influence the occurrence of El Niño events, which are major drivers of global climate.
They found the ratio of oxygen isotopes…



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