What caused the end of a warm climate phase and an expansion of the Antarctic ice sheet 14 million years ago? This is the question addressed by Kiel and Bremen palaeoclimatologists in an article for the latest issue of Nature (24/11/05). Their research uncovered a temporal link between a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO²) levels on earth, ice sheet formation and global cooling. The "global cooling" that took place 14 million years ago is attributed by Dr. Ann Holbourn, Professor Wolfgang Kuhnt, Professor Michael Schulz and Dr. Helmut Erlenkeuser to changes in the marine carbon cycle, associated with variations in Earth’s orbit and tilt.
Kuhnt: "We know that the orbital situation, i.e. the path followed by the Earth around the Sun, changes regularly. One such change occurred during the global cooling period 14 million years ago, bringing with it a period of cool Antarctic summers. The Antarctic ice sheet was no longer melting down in summer and began to grow steadily. For the first time we can reconstruct in great detail the history of this glacial expansion, which took place in about 80,000 years, a short time in geological terms.”
Researchers at the Institute for Geosciences of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel and their colleague from DFG Research Center Ocean Margins in Bremen studied marine sediments from two cores in the eastern and western subtropical Pacific. The analysis of oxygen and carbon isotopes in the calcite shells of tiny organisms (foraminifers) living at the sea floor allowed to track changes in ice volume and carbon dioxide levels. The team investigated an interval of about two million years with a sampling resolution of 4,000 years.
Susanne Schuck | alfa
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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