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Key Idea 5
Isotopes and Climate
Concept Question: How does an understanding of isotopes allow scientists to obtain data such as historical temperatures and the source of carbon in the atmosphere?

What do we know?

Analysis of isotope ratios are extremely useful in determining both historical temperatures and the source of carbon present in the atmosphere. This is possible because substances containing isotopes in different abundances have slightly altered physical and chemical properties, as a result of their differing atomic masses.

Montage of ice core images

Work through the Ice Core Extraction and Analysis (Flash) learning tool to learn how ice cores are extracted, preserved and analyzed.