The JOIDES Resolution will venture into the Pacific on its first expedition since it was refurbished.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of the National Science Foundation
Scientists to Investigate Role of Equatorial Pacific Ocean in Global Climate System
News story originally written on February 23, 2009
An international team of scientists is currently studying the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and a second expedition will happen in May 2009. They are part of a science program called the Pacific Equatorial Age Transect (PEAT). While aboard the JOIDES Resolution, the scientists will be drilling into the crust of the Pacific tectonic plate along the equator in order to gather sediments from the ocean floor that can give them a record of the Cenozoic Era (from 65.5 million years ago to the present).
The scientists believe the results they get from their research will give them a clearer understanding of the Earth's past climate, which is vital to knowing what the climate will be in the future.
The equatorial Pacific is a complex region that impacts the Earth's climate in many ways. This region is affected by solar warming and is one of the main regions where carbon dioxide transfers from the deep ocean to the atmosphere. The equatorial Pacific is also where the El Niño-Southern Oscillation begins.
Over the last 55 million years, global climate has varied dramatically from extreme warmth to glacial cold. These climate variations have been recorded in the ocean sediments on the ocean floor of the equatorial Pacific. Information from these expeditions will help scientists understand how Earth was able to maintain very warm climates relative to the 20th century, even though solar radiation received at the Earth's surface has remained nearly constant for the last 55 million years.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
The main force that shapes our planet's surface over long amounts of time is the movement of Earth's outer layer by the process of plate tectonics. This picture shows how the rigid outer layer of the Earth,...more
To figure out the future of climate change, scientists need tools to measure how Earth responds to change. Some of these tools are global climate models. Using models, scientists can better understand...more
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a kind of gas. There isn't that much carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, but it is still very important. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it helps trap heat coming...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more