Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,741,889 articles and books

Yet another blow to climate stability.



Fossilized fos·sil·ize  
v. fos·sil·ized, fos·sil·iz·ing, fos·sil·iz·es

v.tr.
1. To convert into a fossil.

2. To make outmoded or inflexible with time; antiquate.

v.intr.
 pollen from two sites in Europe now provide additional evidence that temperatures shifted dramatically during the last interglacial in·ter·gla·cial  
adj.
Occurring between glacial epochs.

n.
A comparatively short period of warmth during an overall period of glaciation.
 stage, 120,000 to 130,000 years ago, report Michael H. Field of the University of Cambridge in England and his colleagues.

Conditions during that period, the Eemian, interest scientists in part because they may shed light on how easily today's climate might shift. Earth, now in another interglacial stage, has enjoyed remarkably stable temperatures for the past 10,000 years. But some investigators worry that modern pollutants pollutants

see environmental pollution.
 threaten that long record and will cause global changes in climate.

For years, researchers thought that stable, mild temperatures characterized the Emian. Then in 1993, two teams studying ice cored from the Greenland ice cap reported conflicting findings on the Eemian (SN: 12/11/93, p.390). A European group contended that flucturating temperatures marked that period. But U.S. researchers said they could draw no conclusions about the Eemian from their ice, drilled nearby.

Now, pollen records appear to support the Europeans' conclusions, Field's group reports in the Oct. 27 NATURE.

However, "it's too early to say whether there is or isn't a match between specific wiggles wiggles - [scientific computation] In solving partial differential equations by finite difference and similar methods, wiggles are sawtooth (up-down-up-down) oscillations at the shortest wavelength representable on the grid.  in our curve and specific wiggles in their curve," concerning the timing and degree of climate change, warns coauthor Brian Huntley of the University of Durham (body, education) University of Durham - A busy research and teaching community in the historic cathedral city of Durham, UK (population 61000). Its work covers key branches of science and technology and traditional areas of scholarship.  in England.

"The ice core records tell principally about the mean annual temperature. [Pollen] can tell more about seasonal fluctuations," he adds.

The study "is really exciting," says Kendrick C. Taylor of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., one of the U.S. ice core investigators. But he remains unconvinced that the Emian had unstable weather. They need more evidence to back up their argument, he says.

Field and his colleagues analyzed data describing the abundance of different types of ancient bush and tree pollen in the sediment below Bispingen in northern Germany Northern Germany is the geographic area in the north of Germany. The native German concept of northern Germany is called Norddeutschland. Northern German States
Norddeutschland is the geographic area of five German states:
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
 and La Grande Pile in eastern France.

Using information on what trees and shrubs grow in different conditions, they found that the climate warmed rapidly at the beginning of the Eemian and remained temperate temperate /tem·per·ate/ (tem´per-at) restrained; characterized by moderation; as a temperate bacteriophage, which infects but does not lyse its host.

tem·per·ate
adj.
 for about 3,000 years. During that time, the mean temperature of the coldest month was about 5[degrees]C warmer than it is today.

Then the weather, particularly the winters, became cooler, and readings dropped almost to ice age lows, Huntley says. Temperatures also fluctuated more widely, especially in winter. As the weather cooled, conifers became more abundant, the researchers report. The French site experienced less erratic conditions than the German site, however.

Since submitting their article to NATURE, Field's team has analyzed data from 10 additional areas in Europe and England. The results "give some overall support to the pattern we've reported," says Huntley. The group detected "violent fluctuations" in the climate, but more so at the northern and eastern locations than the southern and western ones, he says.

Shifts in the location of the polar front polar front, zone of transition between polar and tropical air masses. Its average position during the winter is at about 30° lat. and during the summer at about 60° lat.  in the north Atlantic, where surface temperatures drop most dramatically, may have caused Eemian fluctuations, says Huntley.

The new work supports the conclusions of other scientists that "the whole [climate] system can readily become rather unstable," says Huntley. Global warming global warming, the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution.  due to pollutants could trigger "some of these inherent unstable mechanisms in the system...but we don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
," he adds.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:evidence indicates temperature changes during the last interglacial period were dramatic
Author:Adler, Tina
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 29, 1994
Words:548
Previous Article:The eye's photochemistry: a quick snap.
Next Article:Charge of the 'right' brigade; the ability to know oneself and others gets a scientific lift.
Topics:



Related Articles
Global warming underfoot: holes in the ground hold untapped climate riches.
Minor climate change can unravel a forest.
Deep ice stirs debate on climate stability.
Coral's chilling tale; ancient reefs may resolve an ice-age paradox.
Staggering through the Ice Ages: what made the planet careen between climate extremes?
Signs of unsteady climate appear in ice.
Ice age sent shivers through the tropics.
1995 captures record as warmest year yet.
The case of the global jitters; even in seemingly stable times, climate can take an abrupt turn.
Climate modelers: go talk to the trees.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters