The deep sediment cores brought up from the sea floor of the Bering Sea have shown that the area was devoid of ice the entire year, and the amount of biological activity was high during the last warm period in the history of the Earth.
Professor of ocean sciences at the University of California , Christina Ravelo, is going to share these incredible findings during a presentation this December 13th at the fall reunion of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Ravelo and her right hand man Kozo Takahashi of Kyushu University in Japan went on a two month journey aboard their research boat dubbed “JOIDES Resolution”. The crack team of scientists bore down seven hundred meters through the rock and mud to get sediments which fell there during the Pliocene Warm Period, which took place some three and a half to four and a half million years ago.
“Evidence from the Pliocene Warm Period is relevant to studies of current climate change because it was the last time in our Earth’s history when global temperatures were higher than today,” Ravelo explained.
The levels of carbon dioxide during the Pliocene Warm Period were pretty similar to today, and the temperatures on the whole were a few degrees more, she went on. The researchers of climate have an interest in what this warm period might be able to tell us about global warming, especially when it comes to the poles.
Ravelo and her team found evidence that the poles were also getting warmer in the Pliocene Warm Period. By taking a look at the sediment samples they can calculate the average temperatures of the sea, and the Bering Sea was at least five degrees warmer than it is today, while the average temperatures were only three degrees warmer than today.
Maybe we will finally get some insight into the whole polar ice melting question, as it didn’t happen then, so maybe we have evidence that it won’t happen now…