Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ocean Cores May Give Clues On Climate Change

06.05.2002


Core samples taken from far below the ocean floor are helping a University of Edinburgh geologist to form a picture of dramatic climate changes which took place 30 to 40 million years ago. Dr Bridget Wade is part of an international team of scientists studying climate shifts between the Eocene period – the warmest cycle in the last 65 million years – and the cooler Oligocene period, which saw the first major build-up of Antarctic ice. The study could shed new light on present climate trends as the Eocene climatic regime appears to have established itself rapidly – at a rate comparable to modern global warming – before ending almost as abruptly.



The team of 28 scientists from eight nations is analysing drill cores taken from eight sites near the equator in the Pacific Ocean in October. The cores are the first to be recovered which contain continuous geological records of the Eocene and Oligocene periods. Dr Wade is studying sediment which records the transition 33.7million years ago from the Eocene period – when London was covered by tropical rainforest and crocodiles swam in the River Thames – to the Oligocene period, a time about which scientists know relatively little.

The start of the Oligocene period coincides not only with huge climate shifts, but also with marked changes in the Earth’s oceanography. Scientists detect a shift towards patterns more like those today where wind systems from the northern and southern hemispheres come together and stir the ocean near the equator so that deep, nutrient-rich waters come to the surface and support a diverse, thriving community of plankton. In the Eocene period, the oceanic biological system had been broad and diffuse with low plankton productivity.


Dr Wade is completing a detailed study of plankton fossils, which will help to build the most accurate picture so far of how the Oligocene climate changed over time. And, because the core sample holds a unique, unbroken geological record over a 10m year period, it can help the scientists to date Oligocene rocks more accurately than ever before. The current margin for error is 1m years, but the new study could help to cut that figure to about 50,000 years.

Dr Wade said: “It’s exciting being part of an international team working on a single grand problem. The Oligocene period remains something of a mystery because, until now, there have been no good cores. This study will help us create a more accurate picture of that time. People used to think big climate changes had only occurred during the last million years, but research suggests that dramatic change has always taken place as a result of natural processes.”

Ronald Kerr | alphagalileo

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>