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Images: An Ocean Warmer Than a Hot Tub

To determine ancient ocean temperatures, a multi-institutional team of scientists analyzed three long sediment columns cored from the seafloor off Suriname, in northeast South America. The black box marks their research location. (Illustration courtesy of the Ocean Drilling Program)

In a ship laboratory, WHOI paleoclimatologist Karen Bice studies data collected from freshly extracted sediment cores during the 2003 expedition. (Photo by Richard D. Norris, Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Researchers gathered sediment cores in 2003 from the international Ocean Drilling Program?s drillship JOIDES Resolution. The vessel is named for the HMS Resolution, commanded by Captain James Cook more than 200 years ago. Like its namesake, the current vessel also sails for scientific exploration. (Photo courtesy of the Ocean Drilling Program)

The sediments Karen Bice studied to determine temperature changes contained both carbon-rich organic matter and the fossilized shells of microscopic marine organisms, such as those shown here. The organisms had settled and piled up on the seafloor over tens of millions of years. (Photo by Richard D. Norris, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (formerly of WHOI))