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 KullmanQuestions can be posed to:
Helena Lindh | idw
New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences