February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 6, NUMBER 9, SEPTEMBER 1993
GENERAL INTEREST--SCIENCE: ICE CORE STUDIES
items from Nature, 364(6434), July 15, 1993 (see
related account, News, this issue):
"Don't Touch That Dial," J.W.C. White (Inst. Arctic
& Alpine Res., Univ. Colorado, Boulder CO 80309), 186.
Discusses the significance of the following two papers. Human
civilization appears to have developed during a period of unusual
climatic stability; we should be leery of tinkering with the
current climate system.
"Climate Instability During the Last Interglacial Period
Recorded in the GRIP Ice Core," Greenland Ice-Core Project
(GRIP) members, 203-207. Isotopic and chemical analyses reveal
that the climate in Greenland during the interglacial period
prior to the present one was characterized by a series of severe
cold periods, which began extremely rapidly and lasted from
decades to centuries. Since that interglacial was slightly warmer
than the present one, these results raise questions about future
warming from greenhouse gases.
"Evidence for General Instability of Past Climate from a
250-kyr Ice-Core Record," W. Dansgaard (Dept. Geophys.,
Univ. Copenhagen, Haraldsgade 6, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark),
S.J. Johnsen et al., 218 ff. A detailed stable-isotope record
from GRIP shows that climatic instability on short time scales
not only characterized the last glaciation, as recently reported,
but also existed during the last interglacial and during the
glacial cycle preceding it. The extreme stability of the Holocene
may be the exception rather than the rule.
"Extending the Vostok Ice-Core Record of Palaeoclimate to
the Penultimate Glacial Period," J. Jouzel (Lab. Model.
Clim. l'Environ., CEA/DSM CE Saclay, 91191, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex,
France), N.I. Barkov et al., Nature, 364(6436),
407-412, July 29, 1993.
The ice-core record of local temperature, dust accumulation
and air composition at Vostok station, Antarctica, now extends
back through two glacial periods (140-200 kyr ago) to the end of
the preceding interglacial, yielding a new glaciological
timescale for the whole record consistent with ocean records.
Concentrations of CO2 and CH4 correlate
well with temperature throughout the record.
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