Dust may settle unanswered questions on Antarctica

Mar 29, 2009

Dust trapped deep in Antarctic ice sheets is helping scientists unravel details of past climate change.

Researchers have found that blown south to Antarctica from the windy plains of Patagonia - and deposited in the 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 , and so help predict environmental changes in the future.

The study indicates that the ebb and flow of 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 , 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 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."

Source: University of Edinburgh

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jyro
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 29, 2009
If dust from millions of years gives clues to help predict environmental changes in the future then someone must think man dosen't affect the environment. Someone call AL and have him stop this madness.
QubitTamer
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 29, 2009
In about 10 years from now, Al Gore will invent a time machine. He will then begin traveling back through time adjusting and correcting the Earth's climate as he sees fit.

Don't argue or trifle with the God-Like Al Gore... he knows all...
denijane
2.5 / 5 (4) Mar 30, 2009
You're pathetic with your association between climate change and Al Gore. For your information ,he isn't the founding father of the whole idea-it's circulating scientists for probably decades. Is the Kyoto protocol and the Ozone hole also connected to Gore? Is European Climate policy also connected to him? I don't think so.

Al Gore just spotted the trend in politics and grabbed the opportunity immediately. That's all.
Egnite
3 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
Isn't Gore the leader for the Global Warming church used to fleece tards off thier money? I don't think he believes in naturally occurring (non-profitable) climate change ^^
LariAnn
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 30, 2009
Of course, all those corporations that don't want to be told to clean up their act because it would cut too much into THEIR profits are fine, then, in their pursuit of profit at the expense of the planet, huh?

For the record, just because humans have a role in whatever climate change is happening NOW doesn't mean that climate change couldn't have happened due to reasons other than human activity in the past. The facts confirm both understandings and they don't contradict one another. However, couldn't naturally occurring climate change be amplified in effect by human activity?
mo411
3 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
Ozone Hole 101, its all about circulation... oh, yah, so is dust landing on ice caps... oh yah Mars has this cycle where dust has a direct impact on its clement... oh yah the polar caps on Mars happen to have shrunk by the same amount as the Earth%u2019s in the same period of time... oops, I guess the whole Gore thing turned out to be a factoid... again... go figure.
jonnyboy
1 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
denijane, LariAnn, AlGore

one and the same or just 3 more enviro nuts?
rubberman
3 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2009
Antarctic ice dust...last ice age...climate clues...What the hell does Al Gore have to do with this Article?