Africa: Core Samples From the Depths of the Southern Ocean Will Help Shed Light On Climate Change


The world is often viewed as a large, inanimate sphere. But when French paleoceanographer Natalia Vázquez Riveiros talks about the Earth - and the sea in particular - she conjures up images of a dynamic, living entity with its own bloodstream.

It is well past midnight and icy cold in one of the most remote sections of the Seven Seas.

But there is a sense of excitement as a group of shivering, wind-blown scientists huddle on deck, preparing to retrieve a giant "spear" that has been flung down more than 4,000m into the depths of the Southern Ocean to gather new data on the global climate crisis.

Aidan Starr, an oceanographer at Cardiff University, is one of several scientists waiting patiently on the deck of the French marine research vessel, the Marion Dufresne.

With overalls splattered in mud that could be up to a million years old, scientists take a break from marine core sediment analysis on the deck of the Marion Dufresne. (Photo: Jean-Paul Vanderlinden)

To ensure an even spread of tasks during the ship's 24-hour working cycle, this French-led team of 28 international scientists has been split into three daily shifts during the ACCLIMATE 2 ocean expedition, which...

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