The history of our planet's climate is the most important clue to its possible future. Over the past few decades, scientists have gradually realized that the climate has sometimes changed with catastrophic abruptness. Many experts worry that greenhouse gas emissions could provoke another such shift. Above: The most detailed data come from ancient ice. Cores drilled at Camp Century, Greenland, in 1964 revealed temperatures back into the last ice age. Photo by David Atwood, U.S. Army-ERDC-CRREL (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory), courtesy Herb Ueda. Below: An independent source of temperature and other data has been analysis of plankton shells in cores extracted from the deep sea, as in this operation on Lamont's research vessel Vema in the 1960s. Photo courtesy Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.
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