Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change

Date:
July 21, 2008
Source:
Madrimasd
Summary:
During the last glacial period, small variations in the surface winds could have induced significant changes in the oceanic currents of the North Atlantic, and could even have played a role in the abrupt climate change that occurred at the time.

The North Atlantic circulation is part of thermohaline circulation that globally affects oceanic waters.
Credit: Photograph: Andrew Ryzhkov

Spanish and German researchers have carried out a collaborative study that shows how during the last glacial period, small variations in the surface winds could have induced significant changes in the oceanic currents of the North Atlantic, and could even have played a role in the abrupt climate change that occurred at the time.

Related Articles


Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany have carried out a study which identifies small alterations in the superficial sea winds as the factors with a key role in the abrupt climatic change that occurred over the last glacial period whose origin is not yet fully understood.

This study, carried out by researchers Marisa Montoya and Anders Levermann, concluded that there is a precise point from which a small variation in the speed of sea winds corresponds to a dramatic change in the Atlantic circulation intensity. According to Marisa Montoya, “If the glacial climate had been in the vicinity of that point, small wind changes could have caused sudden and significant climatic changes during that period”

The study was based on climatic simulations called Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (the period of maximum extension of the perpetual ice sheets that took place over 21.000 years ago). These simulations have demonstrated the existence of a threshold after which a small change in wind speed causes disproportionately large changes in the sea current speed. The results indicate that these changes in wind speed could have had a particularly important role in the abrupt climatic change of the last ice age.

Climate simulation of the Last Glacial Maximum is one of the principal challenges for experts in this area. The comparison of results from these simulations with climatic reconstructions based on data gathered from natural elements, such as sea sediments or the oldest ice samples; permit the evaluation of the climatic models in conditions independent from the ones used for their design. The results confirm the relevance of the small variations and help further substantiate the hypothesis about the physical mechanisms responsible for the climatic changes observed in the reconstructions.

Both, the climatic simulations as well as the reconstructions, indicate that variations in the Atlantic Ocean circulation could have been the key mechanism responsible for the abrupt climatic change that took place over the ice age. This circulation plays a fundamental role in the regulation of climate on a global scale, since it transports large quantities of relatively warm water from low latitudes to northern regions, softening the climate of countries like Norway or Ireland in comparison with other regions in the same latitude, but with much harsher climates, like Alaska or New York. This study therefore suggests that the changes in oceanic circulation could have been caused by changes in the speed of surface winds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Madrimasd. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Montoya et al. Surface wind-stress threshold for glacial Atlantic overturning. Geophysical Research Letters, 2008; 35 (3): L03608 DOI: 10.1029/2007GL032560

Cite This Page:

Madrimasd. "Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080718215412.htm>.
Madrimasd. (2008, July 21). Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080718215412.htm
Madrimasd. "Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080718215412.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins