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Climatechange - Geol 111 Global Climate Change I...

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1 Global Climate Change I: Paleoclimatology Geol 111 Richard Fifarek Park. 307 MWF 8:30-9:30 T 1:00-2:00 [email protected] 453-7364 Global Climate Change I: Paleoclimatology Geol 111 Outline Introduction: What, Why Paleoclimate Proxies Glaciers Ice Cores Ocean Sediment Cores (microfossils) Lake Sediment Cores (pollen) Tree Rings Why should we care about climate change ? We may be witnessing one of the most profound climatic changes in the Earth's history. Larger changes in global climate have occurred in the past, but over much longer time periods. The danger facing society today is that anthropogenic (human produced) global warming may be too fast to allow humans, and other species, to adapt to its detrimental impacts. http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt Paleoclimatology Is the study of climate prior to the widespread availability of records of temperature, precipitation and other instrumental data. Useful in establishing the range of natural climatic variability prior to global-scale human influence. We are particularly interested in the last few thousand years because this is the best dated and most sampled part of the ancient climatic record. Examine climate change going back hundreds to millions of years using paleoclimate records derived from climate proxies (earth features sensitive to climate and preserved in the geologic record) . http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt Paleoclimate Methods of Study Proxy Data Glacial Ice Volume/Features Ice Cores -Stable Isotopes Ocean/Lake Sediments - Biogenic Material - Terrigenous Matter - Pollen Analysis Terrestrial Sediments - Glaciers - Soils Tree Rings http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt Timescales of Paleoclimate Studies Long term - Hundreds of millions of years Medium term - One million years Short term – 1,000 to ~160,000 years Modern period - Hundreds of years http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt
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2 Geologic or Deep Time 99.95% of Earth History http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt Proxy: Glaciers Glaciers –ice mass that moves over the land under its own weight Types of Glaciers - Ice Sheets (near poles) - Alpine glaciers (in mountain valleys) www.scienceclarified.com/Ga-He/Glacier.html Alpine Glacier, Muir Inlet, Alaska Antarctica Ice Sheet http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt Glaciers and Climate Factors Excellent indicator of global climate change • Global cooling – ice accumulates and glaciers enlarge and advance • Global warming – glaciers diminish and retreat • Thus, glaciers change in volume and leave behind features of their former presence in response to climate change http://changingclimates.colostate.edu/Colloquium_files/03.Kelly.Paleoclimate.ppt Longitudinal section of an Alpine Glacier (melting, breaking apart) terminus Cooling: Advance of glacier moves
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