Climate Change

The climate affects the oceans, the oceans affect the climate, and we can see these changes in the sediments that form on the ocean floor.

This picture (right) shows an equal area projection of the globe showing ice cover during the last ice age. The dark blue areas are land ice, the pale pink areas are sea ice, the orange areas are land, and the light blue areas are open sea. The British Isles are shown inside the red box.
As we can see, the UK and Ireland are at the same latitude as Siberia - between 50 and 60 degress north of the equator. Today, Siberia experiences temperatures as low as -40 degress Centigrade in winter, and the sea ports ice up, while Britain only experiences a few days of ice and snow each winter, with temperatures rarely getting below zero. This is because Britain benefits from the North Atlantic Drift, a warm current that gives up its heat to the atmosphere as it moves north to the Arctic, where it becomes cold enough to sink down and flow south again - part of the 'conveyor belt' of currents that help distribute heat around the globe.
Scientists looking at cores from the north Atlantic, such as those stored at our repository, are able to tell us about times when the 'conveyor belt' switched off and how that might have affected our climate.