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coral slice

A slice through history

Coral skeletons, which incorporate trace chemicals from surrounding seawater, can provide a daily archive of past ocean temperatures and environmental conditions. Using temperature records from this long-lived Bermuda brain coral, WHOI paleoceanographers created a reconstruction showing the long-term behavior of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) — one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic. The research team found NAO variability has been larger, swinging more wildly, during the late twentieth century than in the early 1800s, suggesting a link to climate warming.

(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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