STUDY: Explosion In Antarctic Sea Ice Levels May Cause Another Ice Age, Not Warming

We’ve known for years that Earth’s climate is like a giant Rube Goldberg machine: Pull one lever, and a massive chain of events starts into motion. Yet many of the steps that drive these changes have remained shrouded in uncertainty.

“One key question in the field is still what caused the Earth to periodically cycle in and out of ice ages,” said Asst. Prof. Malte Jansen, whose research at the University of Chicago seeks to discover and understand the processes that make up global climate. “We are pretty confident that the carbon balance between the atmosphere and ocean must have changed, but we don’t quite know how or why.”

In a new study, Jansen and former UChicago postdoctoral researcher Alice Marzocchi lay out how an initial change in climate could start a chain of events that leads to an ice age. Their model shows how the increase in Antarctic sea ice in a colder climate could trigger a waterfall of changes that could contribute to tipping the global climate into glacial periods.

Responsibility (or blame) for Earth’s climate is shared among land, life, atmosphere and ocean. Elements move back and forth among all four in a slow dance that has kept Earth habitable for billions of years—but can change the climate as elements build up in one or more of the locations.

“One key question in the field is still what caused the Earth to periodically cycle in and out of ice ages.”

—Asst. Prof. Malte Jansen

For example, we’re currently in a break between ice ages; for the past two-and-a-half million years, glaciers have periodically covered the Earth and then retreated. Scientists, therefore, have been piecing together clues about how this process of glaciation works and how it’s triggered. It’s likely that slight changes to Earth’s orbit led to some cooling. But that alone wouldn’t do it, Jansen said. There would have had to have been massive accompanying changes in the climate system to account for the amount of cooling that followed.

“The most plausible explanation is that there was some change in how carbon was divided between the atmosphere and the ocean,” Jansen said. “There’s no shortage of ideas about how this happens, but it’s not quite clear how they all fit together.” Simulations disagree, and none line up completely with the geological evidence available to scientists.

Building on a study Jansen published a couple of years ago, Jansen and Marzocchi fleshed out a model of how the glacial transition could have played out.

In their picture, the atmosphere cools enough to cause Antarctic sea ice to start building. “The Southern Ocean around Antarctica plays a key role in ocean circulation, as it is a region where deep waters rise to the surface before disappearing again into the abyss,” Jansen said. “As a result, increased Antarctic sea ice has outsize consequences.”

The lid of ice changes ocean circulation, but it also physically blocks the ocean from exchanging carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. This means more and more carbon is drawn into the deep ocean and stays there. Less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to a reverse greenhouse effect, causing the planet to cool.

“What this suggests is that it’s a feedback loop,” said Marzocchi, now a research scientist at the UK’s National Oceanography Center. “As the temperature drops, less carbon is released into the atmosphere, which triggers more cooling.”

The explanation fits with evidence about the past climate from sources like sediments, coral reefs, and core samples from glaciers.

“What this suggests is that it’s a feedback loop. As the temperature drops, less carbon is released into the atmosphere, which triggers more cooling.”

—Alice Marzocchi, research scientist at the UK’s National Oceanography Center

“What surprised me is how much of this increased storage can be attributed to physical changes alone, with Antarctic sea-ice cover being the key player,” Marzocchi said. Just the physical effects, before accounting for changes from biological growth, account for about half the drawdown in carbon dioxide that is thought to have happened.

The results are another step toward understanding how the Earth’s climate works over long time scales, the scientists said.

“The ocean is the largest carbon reservoir over geological timescales,” Marzocchi said. “So studying the role that the ocean plays in the carbon cycle helps us more accurately simulate future environmental change.”


Seven year Scientific Study Using State-of-the-Art Technology in Telescopes, Lasers, etc. Reveals the Earth is Flat and Convex

Inquiries concerning the shape of the Earth have been a recurring theme in human history. Based on a series of natural phenomena that contradict accepted academic teaching on the matter, Brazilian scientists at Dakila Pesquisas decided to investigate these inconsistencies. In seven years of studies, scientific experiments were conducted at different points in the world, with the involvement of government institutions and professional researchers from a variety of fields. The results will be presented in the feature-length Convex Earth: The Documentary. The preview, by invitation, will take place on March 26, at 7:30 pm, at the Shopping Eldorado in São Paulo (SP). Three days later, the documentary will be released at , in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

According to Urandir Fernandes de Oliveira, founder of Dakila Pesquisas, the thesis that the Earth is round has been refuted by seven experiments: a geodesic experiment, which consists of measuring two buildings at a considerable distance; using sea level as a reference; a laser experiment to ascertain the flatness of water surfaces; leveling of water surfaces; optical distortions relating to processes of reflection; an experiment with boats on the horizon line; and experiments involving gravity and heavenly bodies.

In order to carry out the geodesic experiment, the base and the top of two buildings were measured, one in Torres, Rio Grande do Sul, and the other in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. Engineers at the National Institute of Land Settlement and Agrarian Reform (INCRA – Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária) took part in these activities. A long-range laser was used to measure the flatness of the waters at the Três Marias Dam in Minas Gerais; at the Lagoa dos Patos, in Rio Grande do Sul; at Lake Titicaca in Peru; and on the seas around the island of Ilhabela in the state of São Paulo, and at the Straits of Gibraltar the sea passage separating Europe from Africa. In this way, the theory of gravity has been challenged by two essential natural measures: the plumb line and the level.

All the experiments had the participation of astronomers, cartographers, geologists, topographers and civil engineers, among other professional researchers. Cutting edge equipment was used. After the release of the documentary, Dakila Pesquisas will make available all of the methodology and technology used so that those interested can verify the results.

“In addition to addressing the shape of the Earth, the documentary will reveal the discovery of a new continent sealed off by a great wall of ice. New knowledge will also be demonstrated concerning the Sun, the Moon and the constellations,” Urandir Fernandes de Oliveira disclosed.

Following the documentary, the book Convex Earth will be released, including all the scientific findings and a new map of the world.

Founded in 1997, in Corguinho, Mato Grosso do Sul, Dakila Pesquisas is comprised of researchers and scientists from diverse fields of knowledge, mainly the exact and natural sciences.


The Antarctic Treaty System was Opened for Signature

The main treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961. The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957–58. The twelve countries that had significant interests in Antarctica at the time were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, […]