. Earth Science News .

Simultaneous ice melt in Antarctic and Arctic
by Staff Writers
Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Dec 06, 2011

Sediment cores for this project were taken by the German Polar Research Vessel "Polarstern". The photo shows Polarstern at the ice shelf edge in the Weddell Sea. Photo: Gerhard Kuhn, Alfred Wegener Institute.

The end of the last ice age and the processes that led to the melting of the northern and southern ice sheets supply basic information on changes in our climate.

Although the maximum size of the ice sheet in the northern hemisphere during the last ice age is relatively well known, there is little reliable data on the dimensions of the Antarctic ice sheet.

A publication appearing in the journal "Science" on 1 December now furnishes indications that the two hemispheres attained their maximum ice sheet size at nearly the same time and started melting 19,000 years ago.

"The decline in the Antarctic ice sheets thus commenced almost 5,000 years earlier than assumed to date, though our investigations show great regional differences and demonstrate how important deepwater archives are," says the lead author of the study, Dr. Michael Weber from the Geological Institute of the University of Cologne.

"Our results suggest that Antarctica was not as climatically isolated as previously assumed," adds Dr. Gerhard Kuhn from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. "Now we have to presume that the reaction of the large ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic to climate change is more closely linked in time than thought. At least that's the way it was during the last ice age."

This simultaneous melting was presumably caused by changes in the global sea level and deepwater circulation in the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, warm water reached the Antarctic continental margin. T

his early ice retreat is evidence of an instability in the East Antarctic ice sheet unsuspected to date. "Forecasts of the future rise in the sea level caused by climate change will also have to be adjusted accordingly," explains Dr. Weber.

"However, our study also clearly points out how important access to long data series, good archives and high-quality scientific databases is," Gerhard Kuhn specifies key prerequisites for reconstruction of climate history.

"It's only because we at the Alfred Wegener Institute can fall back on sediment cores archived on a long-term basis and a data archive that has been built up over decades that such comparative studies are possible at all. Some of the now investigated sediment cores, for instance, were taken back in the years 1987 and 1990."

Scientists from the Geological Institute of the University of Cologne (Dr. Michael Weber, lead author), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (Dr. Gerhard Kuhn, coordinator), Oregon State University and Harvard University were involved in the research work. The investigations were funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), among others.

Related Links
Beyond the Ice Age

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Scientists confirm Himalayan glacial melting
Kathmandu (AFP) Dec 5, 2011
Glaciers in the Himalayas have shrunk by as much as a fifth in just 30 years, scientists have claimed in the first authoritative confirmation of the effects of climate change on the region. The findings, published in three reports by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), show Nepal's glaciers have shrunk by 21 percent and Bhutan's by 22 percen ... read more

Swiss Re estimates Thai floods cost at $600 mn

Fukushima radioactive water leaked to Pacific: TEPCO

Blue goo a weapon in nuclear cleanup

Web helps Bangkok's flood-hit pets find relief

Japan baby formula shows radiation contamination

Dell abandons Android tablet in US

Proton beam experiments open new areas of research

Streaming to overtake cable in 3-5 years: Netflix

Genetic buzzer-beater genes may save fish

Australian fish adapts to hotter waters: study

Mekong nations to meet on controversial Laos dam

Ocean cacophony a torment for sea mammals

Abrupt permafrost thaw increases climate threat

Simultaneous ice melt in Antarctic and Arctic

Scientists confirm Himalayan glacial melting

'Record-setting' change in warming Arctic: report

Plant seeds protect their genetic material against dehydration

Fake Italian organic food sold around Europe: police

Herbicide may affect plants thought to be resistant

Stronger corn? Take it off steroids, make it all female

No end to eruptions at Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano

Hundreds of houses collapse in China quake

Thailand floods a 'wake-up' call for Asia: ADB

Pakistan most affected by climate change

US troops deploy in LRA rebel hunt: Uganda army

Tough hunt for Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa

Liberia's Nobel Peace Laureate holds peace jamboree

S. Sudan battles to transform guerrilla army

Lighting the way to understanding the brain

Making Collective Wisdom Wiser

Scientists Uncover New Role for Gene in Maintaining Steady Weight

Malaysia tribes struggle with modern problems


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement