The findings, reported this week by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the Open University and University of Bristol in the journal Nature could help us understand more about rapid Antarctic climate changes.
Previous analysis of ice cores has shown that the climate consists of ice ages and warmer interglacial periods roughly every 100,000 years. This new investigation shows temperature 'spikes' within some of the interglacial periods over the last 340,000 years. This suggests Antarctic temperature shows a high level of sensitivity to greenhouse gases at levels similar to those found today.
Lead author Louise Sime of British Antarctic Survey said,
"We didn't expect to see such warm temperatures, and we don't yet know in detail what caused them. But they indicate that Antarctica's climate may have undergone rapid shifts during past periods of high CO2."
During the last warm period, about 125,000 years ago, sea level was around 5 metres higher than today.
Ice core scientist Eric Wolff of British Antarctic Survey is a world-leading expert on past climate. He said,
"If we can pin down how much warmer temperatures were in Antarctica and Greenland at this time, then we can test predictions of how melting of the large ice sheets may contribute to sea level rise."
Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press OfficeLinda Capper, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221448; mobile: 07714 233744 email: email@example.com
Heather Martin, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221414; mobile: 07740 822229 email: firstname.lastname@example.org;Author Contacts:
Dr Kevin Oliver, National Oceanography Centre, Tel: +44 (0) 23 80596490, email: email@example.com
Notes for editors:
Stunning broadcast-quality footage and stills of ice coring in Antarctica, as well as location maps are available from the BAS Press Office as above.
Evidence for warmer interglacials in East Antarctic ice cores by Louise C. Sime, Eric W. Wolff, Kevin I. C. Oliver and Julia C. Tindall is published online this week in the journal Nature.
Ice cores are unique climate records, allowing scientists to investigate climate changes over hundreds of thousands of years. The Earth's oldest ice is found in East Antarctica. The three oldest existing ice cores were drilled at Dome C, Dome F and Vostock. The longest ice core – at 3,650 metres - comes from Vostock, but the oldest ice core, drilled by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) team, contains a climate record stretching back 800,000 years. Analysis of the ice cores has revolutionized our understanding of how Antarctic climate has varied in the past. Information from ice cores is vital for testing and improving the computer models used to predict future climate.
Interglacials - recur roughly every 100,000 years between ice ages. The present warm period began around 10,000 years ago and has been relatively stable.
Direct sea level measurements based upon coastal sedimentary deposits and tropical coral sequences have established that global sea level was higher than present during the last interglacial (~125,000 years ago) by approximately 4 to 6 m. This indicates that the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets were smaller than during the present day.
The authors analysed 340,000 years of oxygen and hydrogen isotope data from three ice core sites across East Antarctica, alongside isotope-enabled general circulation model results.
British Antarctic Survey (BAS), a component of the Natural Environment Research Council, delivers world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that underpins a productive economy and contributes to a sustainable world. Its numerous national and international collaborations, leadership role in Antarctic affairs and excellent infrastructure help ensure that the UK maintains a world leading position.
BAS has over 450 staff and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica.
Heather Martin | EurekAlert!
Hurricane Harvey: Dutch-Texan research shows most fatalities occurred outside flood zones
19.04.2018 | European Geosciences Union
Root exudates affect soil stability, water repellency
18.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.
Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy