Matthew Schmidt, associate professor of oceanography, and Ping Chang, professor of oceanography and atmospheric science and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies, along with colleagues from Georgia Tech, Princeton, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Cambridge and Germany’s University of Bremen, have had their findings published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience.
To make this discovery, the researchers studied the chemistry of shells produced by benthic foraminifera, single-celled organisms that live near the sea floor. These benthic foraminifera were collected from sediment cores recovered from the margins of the Florida Straits. By studying the oxygen isotope composition of the shells, the researchers were able to reconstruct past changes in Florida Current transport, which is directly related to the strength of the global conveyor belt circulation.
Researchers have known for years about Heinrich Events, periods of extreme cold in the North Atlantic. These events were named for the geologist who first discovered them, Hartmut Heinrich. They occurred during the last ice age when immense icebergs broke loose from glaciers, and as they melted, deposited ice rafted debris on the sea floor. Six of these Heinrich events have been identified, and they are known as H1 through H6.
“While there is evidence that the last Heinrich Event that occurred around 17,000 years ago was indeed caused by a dramatic reduction in the ocean’s conveyor belt circulation, our new reconstruction of ocean circulation patterns during some earlier Heinrich Events, that occurred during the last ice age between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago, did not reveal significant changes in ocean circulation,” Schmidt explains. “Nevertheless, these Heinrich Events were experienced worldwide, so they must have been transmitted via the atmosphere.”
Schmidt says that the study “has important implications for our understanding of the mechanisms of abrupt climate change in the past. The more we know about how climate changed in the past, the better prepared we will be for predicting future climate variability.”
Matthew Schmidt | Newswise
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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.
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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.
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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.
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