Using tiny bone fragments from fossilized fish, scientists have traced the roots of the climate phenomenon known as El Niño, the intermittent warming of ocean waters off the coast of Peru that can affect weather worldwide. According to a report published in the current issue of the journal Science, modern El Niño conditions arose around 5,000 years ago.
Image: Courtesy of C. Fred T. Andrus
Previous research based on fossilized mollusk remains had suggested that El Niño conditions did not exist thousands of years ago, but those findings were preliminary. In the current study, C. Fred T. Andrus of the University of Georgia and colleagues analyzed isotopes of oxygen present in the ear stones, or otoliths (see micrograph at right), of a species of catfish that lives off the coast of Peru and does not migrate. Like tree rings, otoliths grow concentrically and incorporate elements indicative of the environment in which they formed. "By looking at the entire otolith," co-author Douglas E. Crowe of the University of Georgia explains, "we can reconstruct the water temperature history throughout the life of the fish, from season to season and year to year."
In this case, the researchers focused on the amount of oxygen isotope 18 in the otoliths--an indicator of the water temperature in which the fish lived. The team examined fossils recovered from two Peruvian archaeological sites approximately 6,000 years old and found that ocean temperatures then were on average three to four degrees Celsius warmer and less variable than current sea temperatures are.
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Seismic study reveals huge amount of water dragged into Earth's interior
18.12.2018 | National Science Foundation
A damming trend
17.12.2018 | Michigan State University
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy