Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Melting glaciers reveal future alpine world

14.12.2011
In a hundred years trees may be growing where there are now glaciers. The warm climate of the last few years has caused dramatic melting of glaciers in the Swedish mountains.

Remains of trees that have been hidden for thousands of years have been uncovered. They indicate that 13,000 years ago there were trees where there are now glaciers. The climate may have been as much as 3.5 degrees warmer than now. In other words, this can happen again, according to Lisa Öberg, a doctoral candidate at Mid Sweden University in a new study.


Caption: Subfossil of birch, 9,060 years old, shows how high the treeline has been in the Swedish mountains. Photo: Leif Kullman

In her study Lisa Öberg shows that soon after the inland ice receded, about 13,100 years ago, pines colonized high altitudes in the mountains. A few thousand years later there was a massive invasion of both pines and birches at levels up to 600 m higher than today’s treeline. Subsequently the treeline for both pine and birch was gradually lowered as a result of ever-lower temperatures, until the climate made it impossible for trees to grow and glaciers began to form, about 4,400 years ago.

“We used to think that the glaciers were remnants of the latest ice age. The fact that trees grew there so recently shows that the glaciers are no older than 4,400 years,” says Lisa Öberg.

Lisa Öberg’s study is based on finds of tree remains from Helags-Sylarna, Tärna, and Abisko. The age of the tree remains shows that the climate warming of the last century is unique in a perspective of several thousands of years. If any melting corresponding to what is happening today had taken place previously, the wood would probably have been degraded.

“The knowledge we gain by exploiting this unique opportunity is important for our understanding of how alpine plant growth may be impacted by the future climate,” says Lisa Öberg.

The fact that nearly 10,000 years ago birches grew 600 m above today’s treeline in a climate that was some 3.5 degrees warmer than today shows that trees ought to be able to grow at the same level again, if the temperature rises a few more degrees.

“By studying where the treeline ran in the past, we can see what it can be like in the future if it continues to get warmer,” says Lisa Öberg.

Article “Recent Glacier Recession – a New Source of Postglacial Treeline and Climate History in the Swedish Scandes” by Lisa Öberg & Leif Kullman

Questions can be posed to:
Lisa Öberg, fil.lic./doctoral candidate, mobile: +46 (0)76-8230068

Helena Lindh | idw
Further information:
http://www.landscapeonline.de/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | 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

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>