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Cave reveals Southwest's abrupt climate swings during Ice Age
University of Arizona ^ | Jan 20, 2010 | Unknown

Posted on 01/20/2010 2:11:19 PM PST by decimon

Ice Age climate records from an Arizona stalagmite link the Southwest's winter precipitation to temperatures in the North Atlantic, according to new research.

The finding is the first to document that the abrupt changes in Ice Age climate known from Greenland also occurred in the southwestern U.S., said co-author Julia E. Cole of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

"It's a new picture of the climate in the Southwest during the last Ice Age," said Cole, a UA professor of geosciences. "When it was cold in Greenland, it was wet here, and when it was warm in Greenland, it was dry here."

The researchers tapped into the natural climate archives recorded in a stalagmite from a limestone cave in southern Arizona. Stalagmites grow up from cave floors.

The stalagmite yielded an almost continuous, century-by-century climate record spanning 55,000 to 11,000 years ago. During that time ice sheets covered much of North America, and the Southwest was cooler and wetter than it is now.

Cole and her colleagues found the Southwest flip-flopped between wet and dry periods during the period studied.

Each climate regime lasted from a few hundred years to more than one thousand years, she said. In many cases, the transition from wet to dry or vice versa took less than 200 years.

"These changes are part of a global pattern of abrupt changes that were first documented in Greenland ice cores," she said. "No one had documented those changes in the Southwest before."

Scientists suggest that changes in the northern Atlantic Ocean's circulation drove the changes in Greenland's Ice Age climate, Cole said. "Those changes resulted in atmospheric changes that pushed around the Southwest's climate."

She added that observations from the 20th and 21st centuries link modern-day alterations in the North Atlantic's temperature with changes in the storm track that controls the Southwest's winter precipitation.

"Also, changes in the storm track are the kinds of changes we expect to see in a warming world," she said. "When you warm the North Atlantic, you move the storm track north."

The team's paper, "Moisture Variability in the Southwestern U.S. Linked to Abrupt Glacial Climate Change," is scheduled for publication in the February issue of Nature Geoscience. Cole's UA co-authors are Jennifer D. M. Wagner, J. Warren Beck, P. Jonathan Patchett and Heidi R. Barnett. Co-author Gideon M. Henderson is from the University of Oxford, U.K.

Cole became interested in studying cave formations as natural climate archives about 10 years ago. At the suggestion of some local cave specialists, she and her students began working in the Cave of the Bells, an active limestone cave in the Santa Rita Mountains.

In such a cave, mineral-rich water percolates through the soil into the cave below and onto its floor. As the water loses carbon dioxide, the mineral known as calcium carbonate is left behind. As the calcium carbonate accumulates in the same spot on the cave floor over thousands of years, it forms a stalagmite.

The researchers chose the particular stalagmite for study because it was deep enough in the cave that the humidity was always high, an important condition for preservation of climate records, Cole said. Following established cave conservation protocols, the researchers removed the formation, which was less than 18 inches tall.

For laboratory analyses, first author Wagner took a core about one inch in diameter from the center of the stalagmite. The scientists then returned the formation to the cave, glued it back into its previous location with special epoxy and capped it with a limestone plug.

To read the climate record preserved in the stalagmite, Wagner sliced the core lengthwise several times for several different analyses.

On one slice, she shaved more than 1,200 hair-thin, 100-micron samples and measured what types of oxygen molecule each one contained.

A rare form of oxygen, oxygen-18, is more common in the calcium carbonate deposited during dry years. By seeing how much oxygen-18 was present in each layer, the scientists could reconstruct the region's pattern of wet and dry climate.

To assign dates to each wet and dry period, Wagner used another slice of the core for an analysis called uranium-thorium dating.

The radioactive element uranium is present in minute amounts in the water dripping onto a stalagmite. The uranium then becomes part of the formation. Uranium decays into the element thorium at a steady and known rate, so its decay rate can be used to construct a timeline of a stalagmite's growth.

By matching the stalagmite's growth timeline with the sequence of wet and dry periods revealed by the oxygen analyses, the researchers could tell in century-by-century detail when the Southwest was wet and when it was dry.

"This work shows the promise of caves to providing climate records for the Southwest. It's a new kind of climate record for this region," Cole said.

She and her colleagues are now expanding their efforts by sampling other cave formations in the region.

###

The National Science Foundation, the Geological Society of America and the University of Arizona's Faculty Small Grant program funded the research.

Researcher contact: Julia Cole, 520-626-2341 jecole@email.arizona.edu

Related Web site: http://www.geo.arizona.edu/ClimateChange/


TOPICS: History; Science
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; creation; evolution; gettingcoldoutthere; glaciation; globalcooling; godsgravesglyphs; iceage; iceagenow

1 posted on 01/20/2010 2:11:19 PM PST by decimon
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To: SunkenCiv

Thuling Arizona ping.


2 posted on 01/20/2010 2:12:03 PM PST by decimon
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To: decimon

They had SUVs during the Ice Age, who knew?


3 posted on 01/20/2010 2:12:06 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: decimon

Are there any pictures of the SUVs that caused the ice age carved on those walls? Or how much CO2 was being released by the gas engined vehicles back then? What? It happened without SUVs and gas engines? Maybe todays change has nothing to do with SUVs and gas engines.


4 posted on 01/20/2010 2:13:16 PM PST by pikachu (After Monday and Tuesday, even the calender goes W T F !)
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To: decimon

Is it cold in Greenland per chance right now? We are expecting up to five inches of rain by sunday.

THat is a huge amount of rain for this area. We generally only get about 8 or so inches a year.


5 posted on 01/20/2010 2:13:46 PM PST by aft_lizard (Barack Obama is Hugo Chavez's poodle.)
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To: decimon
the original global warmers => cavemen emitting their carbon footprint from their bbqed bison...
6 posted on 01/20/2010 2:18:04 PM PST by JohnLongIsland
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To: Desdemona; Little Bill; IrishCatholic; mmanager; enough_idiocy; FreedomPoster; carolinablonde; ...
 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

7 posted on 01/20/2010 2:19:55 PM PST by steelyourfaith (Freedom from fat cat greedy Big Government tyranny IS a Right ... It IS the Constitution.)
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To: aft_lizard
Is it cold in Greenland per chance right now? We are expecting up to five inches of rain by sunday.

I'd be surprised if they meant short-term temperatures. But maybe it works with what we call weather as well. Don't know if Greenland was actually colder during the last ice age.

8 posted on 01/20/2010 2:22:05 PM PST by decimon
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To: decimon
Hopefully the Dems will cave on that climate change bill.
9 posted on 01/20/2010 2:22:42 PM PST by Plutarch
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To: Plutarch
Hopefully the Dems will cave on that climate change bill.

This is Arizona. Let's hope McCain doesn't.

10 posted on 01/20/2010 2:24:16 PM PST by decimon
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To: steelyourfaith

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2433382/posts

All solar, all the time.


11 posted on 01/20/2010 2:26:36 PM PST by wolfcreek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsd7DGqVSIc)
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To: decimon

>>The radioactive element uranium is present in minute amounts in the water dripping onto a stalagmite. The uranium then becomes part of the formation. Uranium decays into the element thorium at a steady and known rate, so its decay rate can be used to construct a timeline of a stalagmite’s growth.

By matching the stalagmite’s growth timeline with the sequence of wet and dry periods revealed by the oxygen analyses, the researchers could tell in century-by-century detail when the Southwest was wet and when it was dry. <<

One of the things that amazes me about this and so many other interesting and complex puzzles is that God even put clocks in the evidence that we could use to better interpret it. It’s like getting a “brain teaser” game for your kids.


12 posted on 01/20/2010 2:27:09 PM PST by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: decimon

Bush’s fault.


13 posted on 01/20/2010 2:28:25 PM PST by MuttTheHoople (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9c/TeddyVWad.jpg)
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To: RobRoy
That's a good way to say it....God put a clock in "stuff". Godf also put the planets so they're not bumping each other every time they pass each other.

Anbd imagine him putting the sun in the middle...because it has a special job...

We should be humbled by all this....but man is so arrogant. Let me introduce you to the man that can control God...Al Gore!!

Sounds like a good book title: "The Man Who Controlled God".

14 posted on 01/20/2010 3:04:23 PM PST by Sacajaweau (What)
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To: Sacajaweau

I’ve heard the planets are also there as a “junk filter”. They become “large object” magnets that keep stuff from hitting us. Not to mention all the “gravity” stuff going on.

It’s actually quite fascinating just how intertwined everything is and how many subtle parts, if removed, would take away our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it.


15 posted on 01/20/2010 4:28:31 PM PST by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...
Thanks decimon.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

16 posted on 01/20/2010 4:35:15 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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To: RobRoy
I like to think of the relative smoothness in flight of us in orbit...God could have put in a clutch like in a standard instead of an automatic.

I remember teaching my little grandson(6 at the time) about gravity.

After my very serious lecture....he looked at me....grabbed the globe off the table...and said...."Are you telling me that we're standing on this??"

I laughed and said "You got it!!" Super, smart kid!!

17 posted on 01/20/2010 4:36:10 PM PST by Sacajaweau (What)
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To: decimon; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks decimon.
Caves reveal clues to UK weather
by Tom Heap
At Pooles Cavern in Derbyshire, it was discovered that the stalagmites grow faster in the winter months when it rains more. Alan Walker, who guides visitors through the caves, says the changes in rainfall are recorded in the stalactites and stalagmites like the growth rings in trees. Stalagmites from a number of caves have now been analysed by Dr Andy Baker at Newcastle University. After splitting and polishing the rock, he can measure its growth precisely and has built up a precipitation history going back thousands of years. His study suggests this autumn's rainfall is not at all unusual when looked at over such a timescale but is well within historic variations. He believes politicians find it expedient to blame a man-made change in our weather rather than addressing the complex scientific picture.
I like that closing sentence -- "future decision-making could be made based on scientific data and not on political expediency". I wouldn't count on it, but that would be great.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · LiveScience · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


18 posted on 01/20/2010 4:37:15 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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To: SunkenCiv; blam; decimon; All

Anyone know where to find a graph of the variations measured in the two studies?


19 posted on 01/20/2010 10:21:47 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: gleeaikin

Sorry, no.


20 posted on 01/20/2010 10:26:39 PM PST by blam
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To: decimon
"When YOU warm the North Atlantic,

say what? when who does what? I read every climate article to see when the author slips in the required nod to "global warming" upon which their funding depends. had to look for this one but there it is !!

21 posted on 01/21/2010 2:42:05 AM PST by beebuster2000
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To: gleeaikin; SunkenCiv
I’m curious about the time line too. Would it show a wetter Southwest when the Hopi settled in the area? It’s always seemed odd to me that farmers settled on such marginal land.
22 posted on 01/21/2010 9:33:52 AM PST by colorado tanker
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To: colorado tanker

The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood, Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization

by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
Simon Warwick-Smith


23 posted on 01/22/2010 3:06:06 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Happy New Year! Freedom is Priceless.)
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