Why Collect Cores?

To understand our influence on the climate now and in the future we must understand how the earth's climate has changed naturally in the past without the effects of modern mankind's lifestyle.

How do we do this?

One way is to study the sediments that have accumulated on the seafloor.

The oceans are very important in the way they influence, and are influenced by the climate. Changes in the climate are linked to changes in the oceans and this effects the sediments that slowly accumulate on the seafloor. If we collect samples (cores) down into the seafloor and examine the sediment layers, we can look back in time at previous changes in climatic conditions.

At first look, these samples might look like ordinary muddy sand. But we spend time and money collecting and analysing seafloor sediment samples because these samples can tell us a story from the past going back hundreds and thousands of years, or even longer.

They can show us:

  • How the sea temperature has changed
  • How the climate has changed
  • The effects of pollution on animals that feed on the seafloor
  • Changes in ocean circulation
  • Where there are stable areas of seafloor that can provide low environmental impact sites for communications cables and oil rigs