Climate change 'secrets' recovered from bottom of Greenland lake

August 29, 2014 by Euan Wemyss

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen have delved to the bottom of an arctic lake in order to chart the effects of climate change over the past 10,000 years in an effort to better understand global warming.

Earlier this month, a team of geoscientists travelled to a glacier beyond the margins of the Greenland to retrieve samples from the bed of a glacier-fed lake which is ice-free only during the summer months.

By analysing the sediment from the lake, the team, which included scientists from the University of Bergen, hope to understand how the glacier which feeds the lake has behaved in the past, which will give an indication of what the was like thousands of years ago.

Researcher and project leader, Craig Frew said: "There are less than 100 years of detailed observations of climate available on a global scale, so to reconstruct a more comprehensive timeline of change over thousands of years, one of the things we can look at are proxy records of glacier variability.

"These help us to put the contemporary warming trend into a longer context to try and understand how sensitive the area is and how temperature and precipitation have changed according to climatic forcing.

"The past is a key to understanding the future. To have confidence in that are designed to predict future climate we have to be able to test and constrain them using instrumental or proxy records."

The team travelled to an island called Ammassalik in southeast Greenland, and retrieved the samples by taking a small raft onto the lake and lowering a piston corer around 20m to the lake bed, where a 6m long PVC tube was hammered in to retrieve a 'core' of material.

Taking care not to disturb the samples, the cores were shipped to Bergen by boat for radiocarbon dating and other analyses.

Craig added: "By looking at the sediment eroded by the glacier and deposited in the we can see how much organic material there is and how the grain size changes. We can measure the different elements present, such as iron and titanium, and this helps us to understand how the glacier has behaved in the past, and that can give us a better understanding of what the climate was like and how it has fluctuated over long periods of time.

"Chironomids (non-biting midges) preserved within the samples give an indication of past temperatures. We can also look at different isotopic biogeochemical proxies to gain a better understanding of the water balance and the hydrological cycle.

"The Greenland Ice Sheet is a massive body of ice, it takes a relatively long time to respond to , and it is difficult to study. Smaller such as the one at Ammassalik are much more sensitive. They allow us to look at how climate has changed in the past through the response of the glacier. In turn, this may help us to develop a better picture of how the Greenland Ice Sheet might have reacted over the same period.

"That feeds into important discussions we're having right now about increased mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet and the impact that will have on . The climate has varied over the past 10,000 years and there have been times that were warmer and colder than present. What we need to do is understand what the climate system is doing and how this part of the world responds and how the glaciers react to this."

Explore further: Sun's activity influences natural climate change

Related Stories

Sun's activity influences natural climate change

August 18, 2014

For the first time, a research team has been able to reconstruct the solar activity at the end of the last ice age, around 20,000-10,000 years ago, by analysing trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and cave formations ...

Retreat of Yakutat Glacier

August 21, 2014

Located in the Brabazon Range of southeastern Alaska, Yakutat Glacier is one of the fastest retreating glaciers in the world. It is the primary outlet for the 810-square kilometer (310-square mile) Yakutat ice field, which ...

Recommended for you

Heavy oils and petroleum coke raising vanadium emissions

December 15, 2017

Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth's atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry's growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen ...

Climate change made Harvey rainfall 15 percent more intense

December 14, 2017

A team of scientists from World Weather Attribution, including researchers from Rice University and other institutions in the United States and Europe, have found that human-caused climate change made the record rainfall ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2014
Keep digging fellas, perhaps you'll find the real data that shows no global warming.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Aug 29, 2014
Man, science researchers get the coolest vacations...
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 29, 2014
"There are less than 100 years of detailed observation of climate" - yet based on this minimal amount of detail and computer modeling with many uncertainties we are bombarded with constant DOOM.
I certainly would like to have a climate scientist tell me how it came to pass that 400 feet of sea level loss ended up as ice at the poles. Have they modeled the process and if so what was the albedo effect of clouds? If clouds were not involved then how did ice accumulate?
For the last 800,000 years there has been a clear pattern of ice age- warming for 15-20,000 years then a sharp transition to slow cooling for the next 80,000 years. What caused the transition? Could it be rapid warming leading to significant melting leading to disruption of ocean currents round the globe? Perhaps we are in such a period now!
1 / 5 (5) Aug 30, 2014
Scientist Reveals Inconvenient Truth to Alarmists

Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 07:59 AM

By Larry Bell

Dr. Christian Schlüchter's discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.

This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with "a wild landscape and wide flowing river."

Dr. Schlüchter's report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled "Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest" which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.

Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schlüchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, "I wasn't supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn't belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an 'amateur' had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found."

Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schlüchter points out that "the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned."

Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is "indeed too short." His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that "the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years."

Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.

Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schlüchter poses several challenging questions: "Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth 'tip' in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? . . . Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid."

Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schlüchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.

Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schlüchter recounts a meeting in England that he was "accidentally" invited to which was led by "someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails."

As he describes it: "The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively."

Schlüchter's view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: "Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information."

As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there's one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.

Schlüchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, "For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me."

Yes. That should worry everyone.

Larry Bell is a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston, where he directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and heads the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax," and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.