How Do We Know What Earth Was Like So Long Ago? Climate scientists are called climatologists. They look at atmospheric conditions for averages and trends (patterns) that have occurred over many decades, centuries, and millennia. In Antarctica, scientists have drilled down two miles below the surface and brought up samples of the ice. The layers in an Arctic ice core are frozen solid. They give clues about every year of Earth's history back to the time the deepest layer was formed. Other scientists study cores of sediment from the bottom of the ocean or lakes. Or they study tree rings and layers of rocks to give them clues about climate change throughout history. They compare all their findings to see if they agree. If they do, then their findings are accepted as most likely true. If they don't agree, they go back and figure out what is wrong with their methods.
A tree is natures version of a record keeper. Each year, a tree grows a new ring in its trunk. If the growing season is wet and warm, the tree will grow a wide ring. If it is short and cool, the tree will grow a thin ring. What can you learn about climate by studying tree rings?
First Year Growth Rings are wide Rings are thin Scar from forest fire Outer bark Phloem (inner bark) Xylem (sapwood) Heartwood Cambium
List the climate patterns that you discovered on your tree cookie and create a bubble map.
Analyze your classmates tree ring and construct reasonable explanations about the weather and climate it indicates and record them in your journal. Assume that their tree was cut down this year. In what year did it begin growing? Which years were the warmest and wettest? Which years were the coolest and driest? In what part of the world do you think this tree could be located? What else can you learn from studying tree rings?
Weather & Climate It keeps you guessing. Whatever the weather is doing now, its probably going to be doing something else in a matter of hours. Weather also can vary abruptly from place to place. Sometimes the places are very close together. It could be raining at your house, but dry at school a few blocks away. Meteorologists are scientists who study weather and weather prediction. Meteorologist use lots of high-tech tools, GOES satellites and radar and other ground-based instruments Meteorologists can give us a good idea of what the weather will be like for a few days in the future. Climate is regional and long term. Climate is the bigger picture of temperatures, rainfall, wind and other conditions over a larger region and longer time. Climate scientists (called climatologists) have sorted Earths regional climates into categories, or zones, based mostly on average temperatures and precipitation. These are the characteristics that determine whether a region is a tundra, a desert, or a rain forest.