Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dust may settle unanswered questions on Antarctica

31.03.2009
Dust trapped deep in Antarctic ice sheets is helping scientists unravel details of past climate change.

Researchers have found that dust blown south to Antarctica from the windy plains of Patagonia – and deposited in the ice periodically over 80,000 years – provides vital information about glacier activity.

Scientists hope the findings will help them to better understand how the global climate has changed during the past ice age, and so help predict environmental changes in the future.

The study indicates that the ebb and flow of glaciers in the Chilean and Argentinian region is a rich source of information about past climates – which had not until now been fully appreciated by scientists.

The study, carried out by the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Lille, shows that the very coldest periods of the last ice age correspond with the dustiest periods in Antarctica's past.

During these times, glaciers in Patagonia were at their biggest and released their meltwater, containing dust particles, on to barren windy plains, from where dust was blown to Antarctica. When the glaciers retreated even slightly, their meltwater ran into lakes at the edge of the ice, which trapped the dust, so that fewer particles were blown across the ocean to Antarctica.

Dust from the ice cores was analysed and found to be a close match with mud of the same age in the Magellan Straits, showing that most of the dust originated in this region.

The study was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council. The findings were published in Nature Geoscience.

Professor David Sugden, of the University of Edinburgh, said: "Ice cores from the Antarctic ice sheet act as a record of global environment. However, the dust levels showed some sudden changes which had us puzzled – until we realised that the Patagonian glaciers were acting as an on/off switch for releasing dust into the atmosphere."

Catriona Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ed.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
25.04.2017 | Rice University

nachricht New atlas provides highest-resolution imagery of the Polar Regions seafloor
25.04.2017 | British Antarctic Survey

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>