Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gas from the past gives scientists new insights into climate and the oceans

Ice core and ocean deposit comparisons show complex links between carbon dioxide levels, ocean currents and climate; may help explain past, present and future climate trends

In recent years, public discussion of climate change has included concerns that increased levels of carbon dioxide will contribute to global warming, which in turn may change the circulation in the earth's oceans, with potentially disastrous consequences.

In a paper published today in the journal Science, researchers presented new data from their analysis of ice core samples and ocean deposits dating as far back as 90,000 years ago and suggest that warming, carbon dioxide levels and ocean currents are tightly inter-related. These findings provide scientists with more data and insights into how these phenomena were connected in the past and may lead to a better understanding of future climate trends.

With support from the National Science Foundation, Jinho Ahn and Edward Brook, both geoscientists at Oregon State University, analyzed 390 ice core samples taken from Antarctic ice at Byrd Station. The samples offered a snap shot of the Earth's atmosphere and climate dating back between 20,000 and 90,000 years. Sections of the samples were carefully crushed, releasing gases from bubbles that were frozen within the ice through the millennia. These ancient gas samples were then analyzed to measure the levels of carbon dioxide contained in each one.

Ahn and Brook then compared the carbon dioxide levels from the ice samples with climate data from Greenland and Antarctica that reflected the approximate temperatures when the gases were trapped and with ocean sediments in Chile and the Iberian Peninsula. Data from the sediments provided the scientists with an understanding of how fast or slow the ocean currents were in the North Atlantic and how well the Southern Ocean was stratified during these same time periods.

The researchers discovered that elevations in carbon dioxide levels were related to subsequent increases in the Earth's temperature as well as reduced circulation of ocean currents in the North Atlantic. The data also suggests that carbon dioxide levels increased along with the weakening of mixing of waters in the Southern Ocean. This, the researchers say, may point to potential future scenario where global warming causes changes in ocean currents which in turn causes more carbon dioxide to enter the atmosphere, adding more greenhouse gas to an already warming climate.

Ahn and Brook state that a variety of factors may be at work in the future that alter the relationship between climate change and ocean currents. One potential factor is that the levels of carbon dioxide in today's atmosphere are much higher than they were during the period Ahn and Brook studied. The researchers hope that future studies of the ancient gas from a newly drilled ice core may allow a higher resolution analysis and yield more details about the timing between CO2 levels and the temperature at the earth's poles.

Dana Cruikshank | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>