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Small Variations in Climate System Can Result in Dramatic Temperature Changes


At present, the extent of Arctic sea ice is far less than during the last glacial period. The Laurentide Ice Sheet, the major driving force for ocean circulation during the glacials, has also disappeared. Climate changes following the pattern of the last ice age are therefore not to be anticipated under today’s conditions.

“There are apparently some situations in which the climate system is more resistant to change while in others the system tends toward strong fluctuations,” summarises Gerrit Lohmann. “In terms of the Earth’s history, we are currently in one of the climate system’s more stable phases. The preconditions which gave rise to rapid temperature changes during the last ice age do not exist today. But this does not mean that sudden climate changes can be excluded in the future.”


Details of the Study:

Xu Zhang, Gerrit Lohmann, Gregor Knorr, Conor Purcell: Abrupt Glacial Climate Shifts Controlled by Ice Sheet Changes. Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13592


Source: AWI.