Scientists closer to unraveling the mystery of the last ice age

Scientists closer to unraveling the mystery of the last ice age

Two mysteries haunt many paleoclimatologists: where did the last ice age ice sheets come from and how did they grow so fast?

Scientists get closer to solving the mystery of the last ice age

New a study published in Nature Geoscience may shed some light on these mysteries. These conclusions of the study can be applied to other historical ice ages.

The last glacial cycle began 116,000 years ago, and a huge ice sheet covered the Northern Hemisphere. However, it took only 10,000 years for these shields to grow and unite. This caused great surprise among scientists.

Scientists have previously tried to explain the vast ice sheets that covered northern Europe and Scandinavia—warm water brought in by the North Atlantic Current must have made Scandinavia is pretty much ice-free.

“The problem is we don’t know where these ice sheets came from (in Scandinavia) and what caused them to expand in such a short amount of time,” said Markus Lofverström , lead author.

The authors of the study have developed a complex model of the Earth system, which allows you to recreate the early climatic conditions of the recent ice age in high spatial detail.

Researchers have found that the ocean gates of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago play a vital role in controlling the climate of the North Atlantic. It may also have influenced the growth of ice sheets in Scandinavia. The model showed that while the Canadian Arctic Archipelago remained open, the Northern Hemisphere cooled enough to allow ice sheets to grow in Northern Canada and Siberia.

“Using climate modeling and analysis of marine sediments, we show that ice forming in northern Canada, can block ocean passages and change water flows from the Arctic to the North Atlantic, Lofverström said, and this, in turn, leads to a weakening of ocean circulation and creates cooler climatic conditions off the coast of Scandinavia, sufficient to so that ice starts to grow in this region.

In general, experiments may indicate that the formation of sea ice in Northern Canada was one of the reasons for the appearance of Scandinavian glaciers.

“Perhaps that the mechanisms we have identified here apply to every ice age, not just the most recent one. It may even help explain shorter cold periods, such as the cooling during the Younger Dryas (12,900–11,700 years ago),” said Lofverström.