Research on paleoceanography

The paleoceanographic research of the Norwegian Polar Institute is focused on the Arctic and the adjacent oceans which affect the global climate. Over the last decades, the thickness and extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and marginal seas have been decreasing whereas ocean temperatures have been increasing.

Surface sediment sample including the shells of foraminifera. Surface sediment sample including the shells of foraminifera. Photo: Katrine Husum / Norwegian Polar Institute

Paleoceanographers reconstruct past oceanic conditions using so-called paleo proxies which are ”indirect measurements” of sea ice and ocean temperatures based on fossil foraminifera and diatoms from marine sediment cores. As the instrumental sea ice and ocean temperature data exist only for the last ca. 100 years, marine sediment cores can be utilized to extend the records of ocean conditions hundreds and thousands of years back in time.

The knowledge of past ocean conditions is important, because it defines the baselines for the natural climate change helping us to set the recent observed changes in the long-term natural climate context, and helps to improve the global climate models enabling more precise climate projections for the future.

Latest articles on paleoceanography

  • Researchers' Night on Hurtigruten – Environment and Climate Change

    Friday 24 September, passengers of all the Hurtigruten vessels will get an introduction to the environment and climate during and after the last ice age. Researcher Dorthe Klitgaard Kristiansen from the Norwegian Polar Institute will participate and give a talk on natural climate change.

More articles on paleoceanography