Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Unstable Oceans and the Long Memory of Coral Reefs.”

by Ryan Chatfield and Heather Whittier
On Tuesday April 16, 2002 Ellen Druffel spoke on “Unstable Oceans and the Long Memory of Coral Reefs.”

Ellen Druffel spoke about how we can use the ocean as an indicator of climate change.  Her primary research objectives are to be able to parameterize future climate change.  She began by discussing that the ocean fluctuates on interannual and interdecadal cycles. El Nino is an example of the interannual cycles that occur while the Pacific decadal oscillation is an example of the interdecadal oceanic fluctuations. Corals develop annual bands that contain varying concentrations of isotopes.  Her research involves sectioning corals and using radioisotopes and stable isotopes in the corals to determine fluctuations in ocean temperature and salinity.  Some of the questions are how has climate varied during the past few hundred years, how does this compare with recent climate change,and has cycling of CO2 between air and sea been affected as a result of changes in climate.  Druffel’s research findings from the Galapogos Islands reveal that over the last four centuries oceans have been becoming warmer.

Professor Ellen R. M. Druffel is Professor of Earth Systems Science, University of California, Irvine, CA with a joint position at  Scripps Institution of Oceanography.   Dr. Druffel is internationally known in the area of earth systems science. Her research interests include the cycling of organic carbon between the surface and deep ocean, and determination of past changes in circulation and ventilation in the upper ocean.

Dr. Druffel earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego in 1980. She has formerly served as a member of the National Academy of Science's Ocean Studies Board, as a participant of numerous scientific voyages, and as a scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She is an Associate Editor of Oceanography, a Councillor of The Oceanography Society, and chair of the new Honors and Recognition Committee of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Dr. Druffel's visit was sponsored by SUNY ESF, the Faculty of Chemistry, and the ESF Women’s Caucus.

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