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!
As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation
29.03.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
Researchers discover dust plays prominent role in nutrients of mountain forest ecoystems
29.03.2017 | University of Wyoming
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering