Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Earth´s climate is seesawing

30.04.2007
During the last 10,000 years climate has been seesawing between the North and South Atlantic Oceans. As revealed by findings presented by Quaternary scientists at Lund University, Sweden, cold periods in the north have corresponded to warmth in the south and vice verse. These results imply that Europe may face a slightly cooler future than predicted by IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The research group, currently consisting of Svante Björck, Karl Ljung and Dan Hammarlund, has retrieved cores of lake sediments and peat along a north-south transect of Atlantic islands and adjacent land areas: Greenland, Iceland, Faroes, Azores, Tristan da Cunha, Isla de los Estados, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Based on detailed analyses of geochemistry, mineral magnetism and pollen content, hitherto unknown details of Atlantic climate dynamics have been resolved. Extensive radiocarbon dating and rapid sedimentation rates in the terrestrial deposits allow a much higher temporal resolution of the data than provided by marine sediment cores.

-- Our records reflect details of the climatic evolution in the Atlantic region since the end of the last Ice Age to the present day. We would have liked to compare our results to similar data sets from other parts of the South Atlantic, but no other records provide the same degree of resolution, says Professor Björck. After the end of the last Glacial both Hemispheres became warmer as a result of melting ice sheets, but during the last 9000 years we can identify a persistent "seesaw" pattern. When the South Atlantic was warm it was cold in the North Atlantic and vice verse.

-- This is most certainly related to large-scale ocean circulation in the Atlantic Ocean. The main current system - "the Great Ocean Conveyor" - is driven by sinking of dense, relatively cold and salty water in the northern North Atlantic. This results in southward-flowing deep-water that is replaced by warm surface water brought to high northern latitudes from the tropics and ultimately from the South Atlantic, says Svante Björck, and continues:

-- The deep-water formation in the north is dependent on cooling of surface water with a high salt content. If sufficiently large amounts of fresh water are supplied to the North Atlantic, such as from melting ice-sheets or major increases in precipitation, the deep-water formation, and hence the transport of warm surface water from the south, may cease or at least decrease substantially. This is known to have happened repeatedly during the present Interglacial (the warm period since the last Ice Age). Minor disturbances have taken place in recent time, such as the Great Salt Anomaly in the 1970s, which seriously affected the cod population around the Faroe Islands. Our results from Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha island group, between South Africa and Argentina, for the first time give evidence of warming of the South Atlantic associated with cooling in the north. This is a major breakthrough in palaeoclimate research.

In agreement with most other climate researchers, the Lund group is not concerned about a complete shut-down of the Gulf Stream as envisioned in the apocalyptic film "The day after tomorrow". However, future warming induced by anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions may influence the system.

-- We don't know with certainty what will happen. Some attempts at measuring ocean currents suggest a recent weakening of the Gulf Stream, and the transport of heat to the North Atlantic region may well decrease in the future as a result of increased precipitation. Such a scenario might lead to less warming in Europe than predicted by the IPCC, but we will probably not face an arctic climate, summarizes Svante Björck.

Further information can be obtained from Svante Björck +46 46 222 79 85, Karl Ljung +46 46 222 78 88 or Dan Hammarlund +46 46 222 79 85

Göran Frankel | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>