Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changes in Atlantic Ocean temperature affects western Amazonia climate

Date:
October 1, 2012
Source:
Open University
Summary:
A new paper reveals that changes in the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean quickly translate into climate change in western Amazonia.

Professor Mark Bush (right) and undergraduate researcher Christopher LaDrew of the Florida Institute of Technology discuss a stalagmite in Santiago Cave, Ecuador.
Credit: Image courtesy of Open University

A new paper reveals that changes in the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean quickly translate into climate change in western Amazonia. North Atlantic forcing of Amazonian precipitation during the last ice age is co-authored by Dr Will Gosling of The Open University with the Florida Institute of Technology, and appears in this week's Nature Geoscience.

The research details chemical analysis of stalagmites recovered from a cave in Ecuadorean Amazonia that provides a record of changes in rainfall for almost the last 100,000 years. The data shows that Amazonia remained wet for that entire period, although there were rapid changes to drought and wet events. These rapid changes in rainfall correlated closely with changes in sea-surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean. For much of that time, cool ocean conditions induced wet events, whereas a warm ocean induced drought in the Amazon.

Professor Mark Bush, leader of the Florida Institute of Technology research group, said: "The exciting thing about the data is that it shows the quick response of the tropics to changes that took place in the Atlantic Ocean. A longstanding question in Amazonian ecology, the center of biodiversity, has been whether the ice ages were so dry that the area of rainforest contracted. The data suggests that Amazonia was as wet, or wetter, than present during the coldest period of the ice age."

Another unusual finding was that the changes that occurred were more rapid than previously reported, and that the Amazonian climate became decoupled from that of the Atlantic Ocean and the adjacent Andes during the coldest time of the last ice age, from about 40,000 to 17,000 years ago.

Dr Will Gosling, Lecturer in Earth Sciences at The Open University, said: "The reason for the more recent decoupling is not clear, but the data is of considerable importance. As we generate an understanding of the pace of past climate change, we can make more informed estimates of future changes."

The climatic future of Amazonia is uncertain, but some models suggest that because of drying, most of the rainforest will be reduced to shrubby grasslands by 2050-2080 AD. Although the paleoclimatic record featured droughts in the past, none were of sufficient intensity to cause a loss of forest cover but, as Professor Bush states: "as the Atlantic Ocean warms, drought is inevitable for Amazonia, probably occurring on a scale that has not been evident in at least the last 100,000 years."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicole A. S. Mosblech, Mark B. Bush, William D. Gosling, David Hodell, Louise Thomas, Peter van Calsteren, Alexander Correa-Metrio, Bryan G. Valencia, Jason Curtis, Robert van Woesik. North Atlantic forcing of Amazonian precipitation during the last ice age. Nature Geoscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1588

Cite This Page:

Open University. "Changes in Atlantic Ocean temperature affects western Amazonia climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001083540.htm>.
Open University. (2012, October 1). Changes in Atlantic Ocean temperature affects western Amazonia climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001083540.htm
Open University. "Changes in Atlantic Ocean temperature affects western Amazonia climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001083540.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 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:
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