The last ice-age was interrupted by numerous bouts of warmth.
Noise may have flipped the stable cold state (bottom) of North Atlantic Ocean currents to the warm state (top).
© Physical Review Letters
Natural randomness punctuated past ice ages with warm spells.
Natural randomness in the world’s climate system may have caused the frequent, fast and fleeting returns to warm conditions during past ice ages, say two German scientists1.
Andrey Ganopolski and Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research think that the flickering character of ice-age climate is a signature of stochastic resonance. This is the counter-intuitive phenomenon where noise amplifies the effect a weak signal has on its surroundings.
PHILIP BALL | © Nature News Service
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