West Antarctica Warmed Quickly ... 20,000 Years Ago
2013-08-16 0:00

By Becky Oskin | LiveScience

The modern meltdown of the Antarctic Ice Sheet mirrors the frozen continent’s big thaw after the last ice age ended 20,000 years ago, a new study finds.

New ice core records from West Antarctica show the huge ice sheet started heating up about 20,000 to 22,000 years ago, 2,000 to 4,000 years earlier than previously thought. But in East Antarctica, which was higher in elevation, colder and drier than the West, the continent stayed in its deep-freeze cycle until 18,000 years ago. The results were published today (Aug. 14) in the journal Nature.

The mismatch between West and East is similar to today’s Antarctica. Modern West Antarctica is one of the fastest-warming places on the planet. The middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) since 1958, three times as fast as the overall rate of global warming. But relatively little warming — half a degree or less — has been measured in East Antarctica.

Looking at how Antarctica melted in response to past climate change can help researchers better predict the ice sheet’s future behavior, said lead study author T.J. Fudge, a doctoral student at the University of Washington. "This most recent deglacial warming is the spot in time we can look at to really understand how our climate goes through big changes," Fudge told LiveScience.

The study is based on an ice core more than 2 miles (3,405 meters) long, covering 68,000 years, the longest U.S. ice core ever drilled. The five-year effort to retrieve the core ended in December 2011. Scientists are only halfway through the ice, having analyzed 30,000 years’ worth of annual layers, according to a statement from the University of Washington.

The authors — a consortium of 42 researchers signed off on the study — suggest that 20,000 years ago, warming in the Southern Ocean melted sea ice around Antarctica. The missing ice meant more storms traveled inland, boosting West Antarctica’s warming.

"West Antarctica is influenced by the ocean much more than the ice up high in East Antarctica, so you are able to see this [warming] happening before you notice it in East Antarctica," Fudge said. "We’re seeing something similar in the modern climate, where West Antarctica seems to be changing more quickly."

[...]

Read the full article at: livescience.com



Related Articles
British scientists offer explanations on "global warming pause"
Global warming caused by CFCs, not carbon dioxide, new study says
Global warming debunked: NASA report verifies carbon dioxide actually cools atmosphere
Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown
Climate Paradox: Longer Antarctic Melt Season May Mean Less Global Warming?


Latest News from our Front Page

UK Police Tell Subjects Not to Harm Their Attackers, Get a Rape Alarm
2015-07-01 1:17
The latest dispatch from the United Kingdom’s ongoing campaign to eliminate all forms of armed self-defense seems too incredible to be true. Unfortunately, after tracking down the origin of a publicly distributed statement regarding self-defense products on the country’s “Ask the Police” website, we can confirm that British subjects continue to live at the mercy of their potential attackers.  Even ...
Activists Plan to Burn American Flags in New York City Ahead of Fourth of July
2015-07-01 1:52
Burning the flag in Charleston, South Carolina on June 22, 2015 A group calling for the immediate disarmament of the New York Police Department plans to burn American flags in a Brooklyn park on Wednesday, just days before the Fourth of July holiday. “Disarm NYPD” announced the “Burn the American Flags” event on Facebook, inviting individuals to join the organization at Fort ...
Ruiz: Diversity of New York City languages makes staying involved in kids’ education difficult for immigrant parents
2015-07-01 1:08
Immigrant parent seek better translation and interpretation services from the Department of Education at the New York Immigration Coalition. New Yorkers, who come from every corner of the world, speak 180 languages. Not surprisingly, nearly half of public school students speak a language other than English at home. This makes life difficult for the city's Department of Education, which, according to federal ...
Ethnic Studies to Become Mandatory in Sacramento Schools by 2016
2015-06-30 22:36
The fourth most diverse school district in the nation is finally adding an ethnic studies graduation requirement—in 2020. The Sacramento City Unified School District's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the proposal from its Student Advisory Council on June 4. The proposal will create an ethnic studies pilot program for fall 2016. In collaboration with community organizations, local university professors and college students, ...
It Begins: New Calls To Strip Churches of Tax Exempt Status After Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
2015-06-30 20:22
For years conservatives and proponents of religious liberty in America have warned that if same-sex marriage became legal, the left would then pursue revoking the tax exempt status for religious institutions, particularly Christian churches, around the country. Just days after the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that gay marriage is a constitutional right, progressive activists like Mark Oppenheimer of ...
More News »