Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dust May Settle Unanswered Questions On Antarctica

Date:
April 2, 2009
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Dust trapped deep in Antarctic ice sheets is helping scientists unravel details of past climate change. Researchers have found that dust blown south to Antarctica from the windy plains of Patagonia -- and deposited in the ice periodically over 80,000 years -- provides vital information about glacier activity.

Dust trapped deep in Antarctic ice sheets is helping scientists unravel details of past climate change. Researchers have found that dust blown south to Antarctica from the windy plains of Patagonia – and deposited in the ice periodically over 80,000 years – provides vital information about glacier activity.

Scientists hope the findings will help them to better understand how the global climate has changed during the past ice age, and so help predict environmental changes in the future.

The study indicates that the ebb and flow of glaciers in the Chilean and Argentinian region is a rich source of information about past climates – which had not until now been fully appreciated by scientists.

The study, carried out by the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Lille, shows that the very coldest periods of the last ice age correspond with the dustiest periods in Antarctica's past.

During these times, glaciers in Patagonia were at their biggest and released their meltwater, containing dust particles, on to barren windy plains, from where dust was blown to Antarctica. When the glaciers retreated even slightly, their meltwater ran into lakes at the edge of the ice, which trapped the dust, so that fewer particles were blown across the ocean to Antarctica.

Dust from the ice cores was analysed and found to be a close match with mud of the same age in the Magellan Straits, showing that most of the dust originated in this region.

The study was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council. The findings were published in Nature Geoscience.

Professor David Sugden, of the University of Edinburgh, said: "Ice cores from the Antarctic ice sheet act as a record of global environment. However, the dust levels showed some sudden changes which had us puzzled – until we realised that the Patagonian glaciers were acting as an on/off switch for releasing dust into the atmosphere."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Dust May Settle Unanswered Questions On Antarctica." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329143324.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2009, April 2). Dust May Settle Unanswered Questions On Antarctica. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329143324.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Dust May Settle Unanswered Questions On Antarctica." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329143324.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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