BU College of Arts & Sciences Paleoclimatologist Maureen Raymo and colleagues published findings that should help scientists better estimate the level of sea level rise during a period of high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 3 million years ago. That geologic era, known as the mid-Pliocene climate optimum, saw much higher global temperatures that may have been caused by elevated levels of carbon dioxide—an analogy for the type of climate we are causing through human addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
During the mid-Pliocene climate optimum, sea levels were anywhere between 15 and 100 feet higher than at present because water that is now locked up in glaciers as ice circulated freely through the oceans. Raymo and her colleagues published their findings in the current edition of Nature Geoscience in a paper titled “Departures from eustasy in Pliocene sea-level records.” The paper provides an improved model for interpreting geologic evidence of ancient shorelines. The URL link to the press release about the paper is here: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1118.html.
The team’s findings add to the scientific body of knowledge about mid-Pliocene sea levels. By understanding the extent of sea level rise 3 million years ago, scientists like Raymo hope to more accurately predict just how high the seas will rise in the coming decades and centuries due to global warming.
Through their project, titled PLIOMAX (Pliocene maximum sea level project), Raymo and her colleagues have shared data with a larger community of geoscientists involved in studying similar so-called “high stand deposits” around the world. The accumulated data should shed light on the extent to which we can expect the Greenland Ice Sheet, West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and East Antarctic Ice Sheet to melt due to increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Raymo is a Research Professor in the Department of Earth Science in BU’s College of Arts & Sciences. She is also a member of BU’s Climate and Earth History Research Group. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1989 and has recently accepted a position to return to Columbia University.
Raymo studies the causes of climate change over Earth’s history, in particular the role played by the global carbon cycle and Earth’s orbital variations around the Sun. Most of her work has been based on data collected from deep-sea sediment and microfossils recovered using the research vessel JOIDES Resolution. She has used the stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon to study past ocean circulation and ice volume history and is well known for her proposal that the cooling of global climate over the last 40 million years was caused primarily by enhanced chemical weathering and consumption of atmospheric CO2 in the mountainous regions of the world, especially in the Himalayas.
About Boston University—Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU contains 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission.
Patrick Farrell | Newswise Science News
Further reports about: > Antarctic Predators > Boston > Earth's magnetic field > Earth’s surface > Looking > Pliocene epoch > Science TV > atmospheric carbon > atmospheric carbon dioxide > carbon dioxide > crystalline > estimates > global temperature > greenhouse gas > rise > sea level > sea level rise > sea snails
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy