Scientists claim to have found how cold the last ice age was

Fossilized bones of mammoths are displayed at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs

Fossilized bones of mammoths are displayed at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs

Guided by ocean plankton fossils and local climate products, experts have calculated just how cold it obtained on Earth through the depths of the last Ice Age, when huge ice sheets lined large pieces of North The us, South The united states, Europe and Asia. Scientists have a lot of data about this period, but one issue remained unknown.

For the duration of the Ice Age, which lasted from about 115,000 to 11,000 many years back, large mammals very well adapted to a cold local climate this kind of as the mammoths, mastodons, woolly rhinos and saber-toothed cats roamed the landscape.

Jessica Tierney, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona, together with her colleagues analyzed paleoclimate signatures in plankton fossils found in the ocean to reveal sea surface temperatures in the last ice age and applied the obtained data to the models now in use to simulate ancient weather patterns.

Human beings entered North The usa for the initially time for the duration of the Ice Age, crossing a land bridge that when related Siberia to Alaska with sea degrees a great deal decreased than they are nowadays. The polar locations cooled significantly far more than the tropics, with the Arctic location 14 C colder than the global common.

This global map shows the temperature differences compared to preindustrial times.

"What is interesting is that Alaska was not entirely covered with ice", Tierney said. "Even here in Arizona, there was big cooling", she said. That's when the latest ice age occurred, as it's also called the Last Glacial Maximum.

This details was then plugged into local climate model simulations to estimate regular worldwide temperatures.

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'Climate models predict that the high latitudes will get warmer faster than low latitudes, ' Professor Tierney added. Researchers fed their data into a model created to simulate ancient weather patterns.

'When you look at future projections, it gets really warm over the Arctic.

To make a weather forecast in a meteorology office, it is necessary to measure temperature, pressure and humidity and apply these measurements to forecast models. "Here, we use the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research climate model to produce a hindcast of the LGM, and then we update this hindcast with the actual data to predict what the climate was like".

The same scientists hope that in the future, they will be able to recreate warm climate periods from the Earth's past by using the same technique.

During the ice age, the carbon dioxide levels were at 180 parts per million (ppm) but today they are at 415 ppm, almost double the carbon dioxode levels during the industrial revolution, which was at 280 ppm.

Reference: "Glacial cooling and climate sensitivity revisited" by Jessica E. Tierney, Jiang Zhu, Jonathan King, Steven B. Malevich, Gregory J. Hakim and Christopher J. Poulsen, 26 August 2020, Nature.

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