On June 23, 1937, English scientist Nicholas Shackleton was born. Shackleton was an expert in geology and paleoclimatology, the study of climate change. By studying sediment cores from the seabed and ice cores from Antarctica, Shackleton helped document the relationship between carbon dioxide, a gas in the atmosphere, and climate change. Shackleton died in 2006.

 

Shackleton's work helped scientists better understand global warming, the current period of climate change. Scientists now know that carbon dioxide is a so-called “greenhouse gas” that traps solar heat in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, necessary for life on Earth, affect whether glacial ice advances (covers more of the Earth) or retreats (melts, and covers less of the Earth).

carbon dioxide
Noun

greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels.

Noun

gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

document
Verb

to keep track of.

gas
Noun

state of matter with no fixed shape that will fill any container uniformly. Gas molecules are in constant, random motion.

geology
Noun

study of the physical history of the Earth, its composition, its structure, and the processes that form and change it.

ice core
Noun

sample of ice taken to demonstrate changes in climate over many years.

Noun

study of the atmosphere of prehistoric Earth.

seabed
Noun

the floor of the ocean.

sediment core
Noun

cylinder of accumulated sediment of a region, visible as layers.

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