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Global warming: New study sharpens ‘hockey stick’

Recent warming seen as unprecedented spike

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NASA data shows that almost the entire planet saw above-average temperatures in January.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Paleoclimatologists say they’ve managed to establish an accurate global temperature record going back about 11,000 years to the end of the last ice age, showing that the pace of warming during the past century is unprecedented.

There have been times during the Holocene when the Earth was warmer than it is now, but never before have temperatures spiked as dramatically, said Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences. Continue reading

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Climate: New clues for ancient Great Basin lakes

Nevada’s Walker Lake is a remnant of one of the great inland lakes that covered parts of the Great Basin during the last glacial cooling period. Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

Glacial climate regime may have enhanced Southwest Monsoon

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Geologists and paleoclimatologists have long known that the great basins of the intermountain West were once filled with water, forming vast inland seas. At the peak of the last glacial cooling period, about 14,000 to 20,000 years ago as much as a quarter of Nevada and Utah were covered with water.

What’s not exactly clear is where and when the water came from, but a new study led by a Texas A&M researcher offers additional clues, suggesting that the additional moisture came from a powerful, enhanced summer monsoon.

First, the scientists set out to test the prevailing hypothesis that the water resulted from a shift in the winter storm track that now generally carries storm to the north of the Great Basin, into northern California, Washington and Oregon. Continue reading

Climate: Did a giant meteor trigger the holocene era?

Impact of Eltanin meteor may have been a climate game-changer

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A meteor that crashed into the ocean about 2.5 million years ago may have had a much bigger effect on Earth’s climate than has previously been acknowledged.

The impact of the mountain-size chunk of space flotsam — the Eltanin meteor — may have injected massive amounts of water vapor, sulfur and dust into the stratosphere, shifting the planet’s climate into fast-forward from the Pleistocene into the Holocene era.

“This is the only known deep-ocean impact event on the planet and it’s largely been forgotten because there’s no obvious giant crater to investigate, as there would have been if it had hit a landmass,” said Professor James Goff, lead author of a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Quaternary Science. Goff is co-director of the University of New South Wales’ Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Centre and Natural Hazards Research Laboratory. Continue reading

Global warming: Monkeys in trouble?

Mandrillus leucophaeus, or drill, are already are overhunted and rare, but now could face the additional pressures of warming temperatures, based on information culled from their genes and their homeland's fossil and pollen records. Credit: Photo courtesy of Nelson Ping

New study focuses on climate change impacts in equatorial region

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Researchers combining genetic information from rare African monkeys with historic climate data from the mid-Holocene era say the species could face a significant threat if the forest dries out and vegetation becomes sparser amid warming temperatures.

Researchers discovered genetic signs that coincide with the conditions that mirror current climate projections for the equator around the globe in the next 100 years. Continue reading

Solar activity may be linked to regional climate changes

New studies suggest that periods of high solar activity may cool parts of the Pacific Ocean, perhaps by influencing large-scale ocean circulation.

Sun’s cycles may influence El Niño-La Niña cycles

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Swedish scientists say they’ve been able to establish a connection between solar cycles and regional climate changes on Earth.

By reconstructing surface water temperatures from plankton stored in a sediment core taken from the seabed off the west coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico, the researchers showed how the surface water temperature in the tropical parts of the eastern Pacific varied with the sun’s activity between 7,000 and 11,000 years ago. Their research shows that high solar activity had a cooling effect in this region.

“It is perhaps a similar phenomenon that we are seeing here today”, said Raimund Muscheler a researcher at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University in Sweden. “Last year’s cold winter in Sweden could intuitively be seen to refute global warming. But the winter in Greenland was exceptionally mild. Both phenomena coincide with low solar activity and the sun’s activity probably influences the local climate variations.” Continue reading

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