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Experts from granada predict aspects of the future climate making an analysis of the quaternary period

Experts of Granada’s Zaidin Experimental Station (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC) have analysed the climatologic conditions of the Quaternary period to predict the effects of global warming in the future climate.

In order to carry out these paleoclimatic studies, scientists have developed isotopic analysis in animal and vegetal remains of different Granada areas. The most outstanding results reveal that 20,000 years ago, the average temperature was about seven degrees centigrade lower than the current temperatures, and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was close to 180 parts per million (ppm), as opposed to the current 370 ppm.

The climate, the CO2 concentration and the development level of the vegetal cover are registered in the isotopic contents of the carbonates present in shells of gastropods and crustaceans, mammals bones and teeth, remains of wood and cave stalagmites. These remains can provide very useful information about the climatic conditions in the past and, therefore, about the situations that may be caused by the global climatic change.

Granada experts have analysed oxygen, carbon and nitrogen isotopes in areas like Padul peat bog and Guadix-Baza basin, both of them in the Granada province. Thanks to the analysis of the isotopes found in biological samples of the most representative vegetal and animal remains in the area, the climate of 1.7 million of years ago has been ‘reconstructed’.

The remains allow the analysis of the isotopic composition of the water those animals drank. This information is useful to know the climate of that period, because the proportion of isotopes oxigen-18/oxigen-16 in water depends on the yearly average temperatures. For example, in cold periods, the composition of these isotopes decreases. Such variations are registered in the bones of animals.

After carrying out the analysis, scientists have concluded that the average temperatures were seven degrees centigrade lower during the end of the last glaciation. Also, they have stated that in that time, it rained less than nowadays because, according to these experts, the global warming causes more rain.

Ismael Gaona | alfa
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