Thursday, April 08, 2010

Oh Joy! More On The Younger Dryas

As an offshoot of my interest in Anthropogenic Global Warming, I have gradually developed an interest in the Younger Dryas Event, when something 13,000 years ago threw a slowly warming Northern Hemisphere back into glacial conditions for another thousand years. This, as an aside, is the event that served as model for the "climate tipping point" that causes so much trouble in The Day After Tomorrow. I've been particularly interested in the Younger Dryas Impact theory, which suggests that a comet exploding over the Laurentide ice sheet triggered the event. Although this theory seems to have been fairly thoroughly refuted.

In any case, the most common explanation of the event is that, as the ice-sheets retreated North, ice-dams holding in the Eastern edge of pro-glacial Lake Agazziz gave way and spewed vast amounts of cold water through the St. Lawrence river, where it caused a shut-down of the North Atlantic thermocline (sometimes called the great ocean conveyor) which carries warm water Northward via the Gulf Stream. This in turn caused Northern Hemisphere temperatures to plunge, glaciers to advance again, and so on and so forth.

Now, however, a new theory suggests a quite different route for this pulse of cold water. Instead of running East,

...geologists now believe they have found traces of this flood, revealing that cold water from North America's dwindling ice sheet poured into the Arctic Ocean, from where it ultimately disrupted climate-warming currents in the Atlantic.

In any case, you can read the whole thing through the link. As an aside, Nature, the magazine in which this new research was published, has just moved its news site outside of its pay wall. Lotsa fun there.


JimBobby said...

All very interesting, MJ, but I came here looking for something on the Jaffer busty hookers story. Boobies are your blog beat and I'm dang disappointed. AGW and the end of the world are sorta important, granted, but there's boobies in the news, fer cryin' out loud.

The Star piece mentions a Jasmine of Cachet Ladies. (NSFW) I had to sleuth it out myself on accounta my fave boobie blogger let me down.

bigcitylib said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bigcitylib said...

Your right. See next post.

Steve Bloom said...

Prior to the outbreak to the north Lake Agassiz was being drained to the south across the Traverse Gap and into River Warren, which is responsible for the supersizing (relative to present flow volume) of the upper Mississippi valley. It's remarkably obscure for being such a spectactular and significant geological feature. From the sound of it the River Warren falls just below the current location of the Twin Cities would have been the most impressive on the planet.