Knowledge of the historic surface temperature of sea water is of importance for the calibration of climate models. The oxygen isotope composition of the shells of several species of planktic foraminifera can be used as a measure for this sea surface temperature. In this paper we investigate how mathematical models can contribute to the process of extracting information about the temperature at which the foraminifera lived from measurement of the oxygen isotope composition of their shells. A simple model is proposed which captures both the average and the variability of the temperature. Preliminary findings suggest that this model forms a solid basis for future research
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