Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Better Understanding of Climate Change

According to the Alfred Wegner Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research, there may be more to long-standing theories regarding ice ages and climate change. In a recent submission to the journal Nature, three scientists from AWI’s working group “Dynamics of the Palaeoclimate” show new findings on the linkage between long-term changes in the global climate and natural insolation.

Analyzing temperature reconstructions based on ice cores removed from Antarctica, the AWI scientists took into account, for the first time, that winter temperatures have a greater influence than the summer temperatures in the recorded signal in the ice cores. Including this factor allows scientists to reconstruct temperature changes isolated to the southern hemisphere.

So what? Up to now, there has been no proven linkage between climate activity in the northern hemisphere and that of the southern hemisphere. Scientists originally postulated that temperature and climate change varied greatly with the constant slow change of the earth’s axis. This new data allows scientists to gain a better understanding of the effects of long-term physical mechanisms that influence the alterations of ice ages and warm periods.

The new data from ice cores has been corroborated by marine sediments, which also display similar seasonal shifts. According to the AWI physicists, these new high quality data and climate models may provide insights into the dynamics of climate change. This will allow us to better gage how the Earth’s climate change cycles have worked in the past and what we may expect into the future. The AWI scientists note however that they did not bring to account any possible anthropogenic climate change catalysts, in their study.

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