How Do Ice Cores of Glaciers Tell Us about Past Climates?
ES2105  Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Data from Vostok

Temperature and carbon dioxide data are plotted together on this graph. This makes it easier to compare the two variables and how they may be related.

  !   Move your cursor over the graph to highlight the period between 110,000 and 150,000 years ago. Examine the timing of peaks in temperature and carbon dioxide.

Jouzel et al, 1987 and Barnola et al, 1987
Average temperatures and CO2 levels from Vostok, Antarctica ice cores.

The graph shows that temperature and carbon dioxide levels both started to increase around 144,000 to 146,000 years ago.

5. Which of these two variables appears to have peaked first?

The graphs also indicate temperature and carbon dioxide amounts both peaked around 133,000 to 135,000 years ago.

6. Which of these two variables appears to have begun dropping first?

  !   Move your cursor over the graph to highlight the period between 0 and 20,000 years ago.

7. Examine the relationship between temperature and CO2 for the period from 20,000 years ago to the present. Explain what you observe.

8. Based on your observations, hypothesize about the relationship between temperature and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.


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