An abrupt global climate change event in Earth history- Evidence from the ocean

This activity is a research project in which students explore and synthesize key paleoceanographic evidence for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) as found in marine sediment cores collected and analyzed during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 208 (Walvis Ridge).

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Kevin Theissen
SERC, On the Cutting Edge

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) can be an engaging topic for students because it is an example of warming that is comparable to what we are experiencing today.
The comparison of these two phases of warming can yield a fruitful exploration on the mechanics, rate, and impacts of climate change. Addressing the topic in this way can show the value of using paleoclimate to understand today's climate.

A summary of the comparison of the PETM and today can be found on the Skeptical Science website: [link

Teaching tips are included in the activity overview.