Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Linking Climate Change Across Time Scales

22.05.2006


What do month-to-month changes in temperature have to do with century-to-century changes in temperature? At first it might seem like not much. But in a report published in this week’s Nature, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found some unifying themes in the global variations of temperature at time scales ranging from a single season to hundreds of thousands of years. These findings help place climate observed at individual places and times into a larger global and temporal context.



“Much of the work went into assembling the different types of records needed to study such diverse time scales”, said Peter Huybers, a paleoclimatologist in the Geology and Geophysics Department at WHOI and lead author on the study. “Data from instruments from around the world are available for recent periods, but it is not so easy for earlier times. We have few instrumental records before the 19th century, so we have to use measurements in corals, ice cores, and sediment cores to estimate past temperatures”.

These measurements and data compilations were made by scientists at WHOI and other research institutions. “While none of the measurements we use are new,” Huybers said, “putting them together told us more than we could learn from any single record.”


Huybers and coauthor William Curry, a senior scientist and paleoceanographer at WHOI, found that temperature variations are more intimately linked across time scales than had previously been thought. For example, places that have a large annual cycle in temperature, like the high latitudes, also have a lot of interannual and decadal temperature variability. In fact, the relationship is so strong Huybers says you can fairly well predict how much decadal temperature change occurs at a given location simply by knowing the size of the annual cycle.

At longer time scales, however, a different relationship seems to hold. Temperature variations at thousands and tens of thousands of years seem to follow temperature variations at the Milankovitch cycles. Milankovitch cycles are named after the Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovitch, who argued that periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun cause the advance and retreat of massive ice sheets. The changes in Earth’s orbit cause redistributions in how much sunlight the Earth receives at different locations and seasons.

“The overall impression is that energy is put into the climate system at the annual and Milankovitch time scales, causing temperature variations at those time scales, but also at the neighboring time scales” said Huybers. In the tropics the amplitude of the annual and Milankovitch cycles tends to be smaller than at high latitudes and, correspondingly, there is less tropical temperature change across interannual to thousand-year time scales. Another notable feature is that the variability of temperature appears most similar globally at those time scales furthest removed from the annual and Milankovitch time periods, indicating that away from these forcing periods climate relaxes to a more uniform background state.

Climate varies at all time scales, from months to millions of years and longer. These changes are often studied independently of one another, but now there is a clearer idea of how climate change is linked across time scales. “These insights may help us to better understand past temperature changes, improve our models of the climate, and maybe even predict future climate change,” Huybers said.

Funding was provided by the NOAA Postdoctoral Program in Climate and Global Change and the National Science Foundation.

Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.whoi.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>