Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The origins of Europe’s climate

03.04.2019

An international research team led by Leipzig University has investigated the climate history of Northwest Africa and Europe. Professor Christoph Zielhofer, physical geographer at Leipzig University, and his colleagues found indications that today’s climate began 5000 years ago. The so-called North Atlantic Oscillation is of particular importance in this regard.

Influencing current climate and weather events in Northwest Africa and Europe, this wide-ranging phenomenon in the North Atlantic describes fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure between the Icelandic Low to the north and the Azores High to the south. The fluctuations of the North Atlantic Oscillation are accompanied by supra-regional changes in rainfall, especially in the western Mediterranean and northern Europe.


The international research team during the geoscientific survey at Lake Sidi Ali in the Moroccan Middle Atlas.

Photo by Physical Geography working group, Leipzig University

Although the earth has been in a warm period – the Holocene – for the last 11,700 years, the beginning of the current climate conditions in Europe seems to have come much later: the scientists identified a striking change in hydroclimatic conditions about five millennia ago, which corresponds with the establishment of climate mechanisms comparable to today’s North Atlantic Oscillation. The results have now been published in the journal Climate of the Past.

Physical geographers and geoscientists from the Universities of Leipzig, Manchester, Marrakesh and Iceland are involved in the international research project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

By examining core samples from Lake Sidi Ali in the Moroccan Middle Atlas, the scientists were able to trace various winter rain phases back to the beginning of the Holocene some 11,700 years ago.

“We discovered that winter rain anomalies in the western Mediterranean are chronologically in phase with subpolar North Atlantic cooling episodes,” explains Christoph Zielhofer, who collaborated closely with Anne Köhler from the Institute for Geography at Leipzig University.

In 2001, renowned geologist Gerard C. Bond established a series of nine subpolar iceberg surges during the Holocene, which he reconstructed using mineral particles of continental origin from marine core samples taken from the North Atlantic. These so-called “Bond events” represent nine large-scale North Atlantic cooling episodes.

Based on oxygen isotope levels measured in the shells of small ostracods from core material recovered from Lake Sidi Ali, Christoph Zielhofer and his team were able to reconstruct Holocene rain anomalies for the western Mediterranean.

They established a temporal link between these anomalies and the Bond events from the subpolar North Atlantic. “Our data show a noticeable synchronicity between western Mediterranean winter rain minima and ‘Bond events’ during the Early Holocene,” comments William J. Fletcher, physical geographer at the University of Manchester.

There are also clear indications of an enduring hydroclimatic change in the overall atmosphere-ocean system of the North Atlantic some 5000 years ago. At that time, supra-regional climate mechanisms began to change: in the western Mediterranean, phases of increasing winter rain coincided with iceberg surges in the subpolar North Atlantic.

Recurrent phases of increased winter rainfall in the western Mediterranean with simultaneous cooling are similar to current activity observed in the North Atlantic Oscillation, which today has a major influence on weather and climate events throughout Europe.

The striking change 5000 years ago can thus be seen as the birth of our current climate in Europe. “We assume that the abrupt shift in hydroclimate 5000 years before present was a threshold mechanism response of the European climate to a gradual change in long-term insolation,” remarks Steffen Mischke of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.

Original title of the publication in Climate of the Past:

Western Mediterranean hydro-climatic consequences of Holocene ice-rafted debris (Bond) events, doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-463-2019

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Professor Christoph Zielhofer
Institute for Geography
Phone: +49 341 97-32965
Email: zielhofer@uni-leipzig.de
Web: http://www.uni-leipzig.de/geographie


Dr William J. Fletcher
University of Manchester
Email: will.fletcher@manchester.ac.uk


Dr Steffen Mischke
University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
Email: smi@hi.is

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.clim-past.net/15/463/2019/

Susann Huster | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-leipzig.de

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA, NOAA analyses reveal 2019 second warmest year on record
16.01.2020 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New assessment of gas locked in ice in European waters
16.01.2020 | University of Southampton

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

Im Focus: World Premiere in Zurich: Machine keeps human livers alive for one week outside of the body

Researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keep them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.

Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours. With the novel perfusion technology, livers - and even injured livers - can now...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecules move faster on a rough terrain

20.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Spider-Man-style robotic graspers defy gravity

20.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Laser diode emits deep UV light

20.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>