Vostok Ice Core: Excel (Mac or PC)
This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Students use Excel to graph and analyze Vostok Ice core data ( This site may be offline. ) (160,000 years of Ice core data from Vostok Station). Data includes ice age, ice depth, carbon dioxide, methane, dust, and deuterium isotope relative abundance (dD). Students use the equation:
Temperature (deg-C)=-55.5+(dD + 440)/6 to infer temperatures from dD.
This is a complete activity that requires a working knowledge of Excel (see teaching notes and tips).
- Learn about ice cores and what they can tell us about past atmospheric conditions.
- Learn about past atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and CH4.
- Learn about the climate and ice age cycle for past 160,000 years.
- Transfer text data into Excel.
- Use Excel to make and analyze graphs and to perform simple calculations.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Teaching Notes and Tips
- Using Excel to Graph Ocean Topography based on Sea Floor Spreading Rates
- Using Population Dynamics to learn about Excel Basics
- Introduction to Excel from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
References and Resources
- The web site Vostok data from WDC has additional background and more years of data (420,000 years) for those interested in longer records. This might be useful for follow-up discussion in lecture.
- Worldclimate Site for mean temperature and precipitation. Type in Vostok or any other city and you get back temperature and precipitation climatology.
- NASA GISS (more info) surface temperature graphs and data.