Research group "marine climate research"

Palaeoceanography and palaeoclimate

Main work focus

Ocean and Climate

Marine climate research is directed at understanding the ocean and its important role in the earth's climate system. The global climate system is composed of several components (atmosphere, ocean, continents, sea floor, sea- and land-ice cover), that constantly interact with each other. The ocean connects the individual components; it functions mainly as storage and redistributor of heat, as well as dissolved and particulate constituents. At its boundaries the ocean is connected to the other components of the climate system; here, significant exchange of energy (heat, water vapour) and organic and inorganic elements (like carbon, oxygen, nitrogen) takes place. Due to its vast volume and storing capacity for heat and dissolved constituents, the ocean has a regulating influence on climate variations.

 

Climate archives at the sea floor

The oceanic sediments are composed of inorganic and organic particles that originate from the atmosphere, the water column, and the continents. They have accumulated at the sea floor over millions of years. The composition of the particles that have been deposited in different time intervals reflects the climate conditions during those times. As such the sediments provide, layer by layer, archives of physical, chemical, and biological processes in the past that reflect atmospheric, marine, or continental signals. These archives  are used to infer climatic conditions of the past (paleoclimate research, derived from the greek "paleo" for old) and to reconstruct the charcteristics and variations of climate during different periods during earth's history.

 

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