Corals : Indicators Of The Changing Sea

1608 Words Nov 18th, 2014 7 Pages
Corals: Indicators of the Changing Sea Throughout the 4.5 billion years of its existence, Earth’s climate has oscillated between episodes of cold and warmth during different periods in its history. Earth has experienced periods of ice ages where continental-sized glaciers covered the planet. During Earth’s warmest periods, the polar regions of the world today were completely ice free. Though there were no humans on Earth billions of years ago to describe these dramatic climate variations, Earth was still able to keep records of the past. Climate archives have proven to be significant in providing clues of past climates and also gives us information to help predict future climatic events. Climate archives contain many indicators of past climate called proxies. Paleoclimate proxies are indirect evidence from periods of the past used to determine the climate of that time period. A major climate archive used in more recent years are corals which are found in tropical and subtropical latitudes. Corals are used to determine the temperature and composition of the waters they live in. The significance of the use of corals for determining past climate changes will be examined through the strontium-to-calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios of coral skeletal used as an important tool for the reconstruction of sea surface temperatures. In addition, the paleo-ocean pH will also be examined as another climate parameter with a focus on the delta 11B in corals. Thus, corals have proven to be indicators…

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