Search for climate clues

University of Otago paleoceanographer Dr Christina Riesselman and husband paleoclimatologist Dr...
University of Otago paleoceanographer Dr Christina Riesselman and husband paleoclimatologist Dr Chris Moy are searching in the southern Pacific Ocean for clues about climate change. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A stroke of luck has resulted in a pair of University of Otago researchers spending two months together on a ship extracting climate insights from below the seabed of the southern Pacific Ocean.

It is even luckier because the pair are married to each other.

Paleoceangrapher Dr Christina Riesselman and paleoclimatologist Dr Chris Moy applied separately to do the research in their areas of expertise and happened to end up on the same voyage.

During the two-month journey on the scientific ship Joides Resolution in the southern Pacific Ocean, the scientists and 30 international researchers are trying to discover what the ocean flow was once like in warmer temperatures.

This will be done by drilling and taking sediment samples up to 9.6m long from the seabed of the southern Pacific Ocean.

Dr Riesselman said a better understanding of how the ocean climate was millions of years ago would help determine what it would be like in the future.

"Essentially, we're hunting for a geological time that's similar to the climate we expect at the end of the 21st century, so we can make better predictions of the future."

Dr Moy said they aimed to drill out more than 5.5km of natural substance from underneath the ocean, but the stormy winter weather might make that difficult.

The expedition is scheduled to end on July 21.

 - Hope Burmeister 

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