Environment Ice cores and stalagmites reveal secrets of the last ice age

Ice cores and stalagmites reveal secrets of the last ice age

Using Ice cores from Greenland, and stalagmites from caves across Europe, researchers have discovered that during the last ice age, what happened in the Arctic didn’t stay in the Arctic.

A study, led by The University of Melbourne’s PhD student Ellen Corrick, has found that rapid warming in Greenland coincided with temperature increases across Europe and rainfall changes in the Asian and South American monsoon regions.

“Some of the largest and most abrupt climate changes in Earth’s geological recent past occurred during the Last Glacial Period, a cold interval that extended between 115,000 and 11,700 years ago,” Ms Corrick said.

During this period there were more than 25 abrupt warming episodes, known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events, which saw the temperature in Greenland rise by up to 16 degrees Celsius, sometimes in just a few decades.

Researchers say the findings highlight the unstable nature of the world’s climate system.

The university’s Associate Professor Russell Drysdale said the findings provide important information for predicting future climate change.

“Demonstrating synchrony in the climate response across such a broad region marks a major advance in the study of Dansgaard- Oeschger events. It allows scientists to improve understanding of how the events are propagated globally via the ocean and atmosphere system,” he said.

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