How Do Ice Cores of Glaciers Tell Us about Past Climates?
ES2105  Dust Data from the Vostok Ice Core

Glacial ice cores also provide a record of the amount of dust in the atmosphere, because dust is trapped in layers of ice after it settles on the surface. Higher quantities of dust, called dust fluxes, are associated with major glacial periods when parts of the world tended to be very dry and windy. Atmospheric dust results from a specific set of climate conditions, so it is not considered a cause of climate change. This is different from the cause-and-effect relationship that appears to exist between the atmospheric CO2 and temperature.

  !   Move your cursor over the graph to highlight the period between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago.

Jouzel et al, 1987 and Petit et al, 1990
Average temperatures and dust amounts from Vostok, Antarctica ice cores.

10. For the period from 10,000 to 30,000 years ago, describe the apparent relationship between temperature and the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

  !   Move your cursor over the graph to highlight the period between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago.

11. Do data for the time period of 50,000 to 70,000 years ago support or refute the relationship you stated in question 10? Explain how.


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