29 October 2021
#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.
When it comes to climate change and the outcomes we face, time is short, and the world needs action. How do we know? Yes, through assessments of temperature and greenhouse gas emissions. But also through processes that open windows on the distant past — deep time. Ice cores carry us backward on a timeline so long it’s best expressed as a spiral.
Drilling down, or sometimes sideways, we reach ice that’s hundreds of thousands years old and contains air and water packed with ancient data.
But sediment — formed of soil, sand, stone, and — just in time for Halloween — dead bodies — informs us about ice sheets.
Accessing sediment cores is crucial to interpreting the potential effects of today’s climate change, based on the response of earth’s systems to changes in the deep past.