Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels closely correlated with global temperatures
November 28, 2005
MONGABAY RESEARCH SUMMARY:
Studying ice cores from Antarctica, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research extended the record of historic concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere by 250,000 years.
The current concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, at 380 parts-per-million, is the highest level recorded over the past 650,000 years. (See related article: Carbon dioxide level highest in 650,000 years)
Below is a news release from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
Close Coupling Of Climate With Green House Gases In The Past
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research news release
November 24, 2005
Never before during the past 650,000 years, have concentrations of green house gases been as high as today. The warm climate periods between 650,000 and 420,000 years ago were characterised by even lower carbon dioxide and methane concentrations than subsequent warm periods. This is one of the conclusions drawn by a European team of researchers with contribution from scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, after analysis of an ice core from Antarctica. The results extend previous data on historic concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere by 250,000 years.
The drilling at Dome C was completed in the past winter. Hence, even older ice is available for further measurements. The glaciologists estimate that the ice cores not yet analysed contain undisturbed climatic history dating back approximately 900,000 years. The EPICA project is carried out by a consortium of ten European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). EPICA is coordinated under the umbrella of the European Science Foundation (ESF) and funded by the participating countries and the European Union. EPICA's goal is to obtain two ice cores, extending all the way to the underlying bedrock, from the Antarctic inland ice. Apart from drilling at Dome C (75° 06'S, 123° 21'E), a second core, currently at a depth of 2565 metres, is being taken at Kohnen Station in Dronning Maud Land (75°00'S, 00°04'E).
The Alfred Wegener Institute is the German EPICA partner and carries responsibility for the coring in Dronning Maud Land. Presently, the European researchers are, once again, in the Antarctic to complete drilling this season and reach the bedrock. The project EPICA represents one of the central projects within the research concept Ocean, Coastal and Polar Systems', part of the research field Earth and Environment' at the Helmholtz Association. Dr Hubertus Fischer directs a team of young researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute. He coordinates working groups investigating the air trapped in ice cores.
The articles "Stable Carbon Cycle-Climate Relationship During the Late Pleistocene" and "Atmospheric Methane and Nitrous Oxide of the Late Pleistocene from Antarctic Ice Cores" will be published November 25 in Science (vol. 310, issue 5752).
This article is based on a modified news release from the Alfred Wegener Wegener Institute For Polar And Marine Research. The original appears at Close Coupling Of Climate With Green House Gases In The Past.
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