When looking to predict future effects of climate change, scientists often use computer models to simulate potential outcomes. However, Michigan EARTH scientists are turning to examining samples of coral from the Great Barrier Reef instead. Professor and Department Chair Julia Cole and Research Lab Specialist Lead Kelsey Dyez found that as the global climate warmed, wet-season rainfall in that same part of the world increased by roughly 10% and the rate of extreme rain events more than doubled.

“Climate scientists often find themselves saying, ‘I knew it was going to get bad, but I didn’t think it was going to get this bad this fast.’ But we’re actually seeing it in this coral record,” said Professor Cole.

“We want to know, as we warm the earth, are we going to have more rainfall? Less rainfall? Maybe different parts of the Earth will respond differently?” Dyez said. “This project is especially important because we’re able to put that warming and changes into context. We are able to record rainfall from the period before we have instrumental records for this part of the world.”
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