About Paleoclimate Proxy Records:
Scientists who study the environment often want to know what the Earth was like in the past. Often the information that they seek is from times far more distant than the written record covers. Because no recorded data exists from the distant past for measurements like temperature and precipitation, scientists use what are known as proxy records. These are indirect methods for estimating climatic conditions of the distant past. Some common proxy records that help paleoclimatologists infer the climatic conditions of the past are tree rings, layers of ocean sediments, pollen, and ice cores. In this investigation, we will be looking at how scientists use the ratio of Oxygen-18 to Oxygen-16 in ice core samples to determine past temperatures.