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Evidence of "tipping points" turning climate change from gradual to rapid

Evidence of "tipping points" t...
Ice core samples taken  from a glacier in Greenland indicate that sudden temperature spikes occurred during the last Ice Age, and new research suggests that slowly-building CO2 is to blame
Ice core samples taken  from a glacier in Greenland indicate that sudden temperature spikes occurred during the last Ice Age, and new research suggests that slowly-building CO2 is to blame
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Ice core samples taken  from a glacier in Greenland indicate that sudden temperature spikes occurred during the last Ice Age, and new research suggests that slowly-building CO2 is to blame
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Ice core samples taken  from a glacier in Greenland indicate that sudden temperature spikes occurred during the last Ice Age, and new research suggests that slowly-building CO2 is to blame

Anyone who has seen The Day After Tomorrow will be familiar with the concept of "tipping points" where slow and gradual changes in atmospheric CO2 levels can reach a point that triggers a sudden change in temperatures. While a lot of the aforementioned movie remains firmly in the realm of science fiction, a new study has found evidence of such tipping points occurring in the past, resulting in dramatic climate changes over a short period.

Ice core samples in Greenland have shown that during the last glacial period, temperatures periodically shot up by as much as 10° C (18° F) in a matter of decades, but it wasn't clear why that was the case. A study by researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Cardiff has shed some more light on this phenomena, known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events, using a computer model that simulates the relationship between the atmosphere, ocean currents and sea ice levels.

The team found that a high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was the likely suspect for these sudden warming events. The CO2 levels didn't have to rise quickly either: after a period of slow but constant growth, the climate can reach a crucial tipping point, setting off a chain reaction that results in temperature spikes.

As CO2 levels increase, the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean warms up faster than the western region of the Atlantic does, resulting in stronger trade winds across Central America. That means more moisture is carried out of the Atlantic, leaving the surface water saltier and denser, and speeding up the "conveyor belt" motion of the Atlantic Ocean. This strong current carries warmer waters north, and as a result leads to increased temperatures. Inversely, the slowing down of this current at other times has been linked to the beginning of ice ages.

"With this study, we've managed to show for the first time how gradual increases of CO2 triggered rapid warming," says Xu Zhang, first author of the study. "Our simulations indicate that even small changes in the CO2 concentration suffice to change the circulation pattern, which can end in sudden temperature increases."

While the findings fit the records in the past, the researchers don't want to declare that the same thing could happen in the future, because the Earth is a very different place nowadays.

"We can't say for certain whether rising CO2 levels will produce similar effects in the future, because the framework conditions today differ from those in a glacial period," says Gerrit Lohmann, co-author of the study. "That being said, we've now confirmed that there have definitely been abrupt climate changes in the Earth's past that were the result of continually rising CO2 concentrations."

The research was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Source: Alfred Wegener Institute

28 comments
David
Such tipping points including when some - not all - climate scientists went from being believers in global cooling to being believers in global warming.
watersworm
Fortunately, we are no longer in a glaciation period, so these annoucments are nothing but scare mongering armaggedonestic alarmism.
PeterAnderson
CO2 does not warm the oceans. Sunlight and underwater seismic events do. Oceans hold 1000 times the heat content of the atmosphere and there is nothing we can do to make them warmer or colder. As for oceans being the sink for the extra CO2, they are net emitters if they are warming. So they can only be net absorbers if they are getting colder, can't have it both ways. Finally, almost all CO2 comes from oceans and the biosphere, not humans.
F. Tuijn
@watersworm If we don't know that something can happen than it can't happen, is that what you mean?
Nik
PeterAnderson ***** For that comment! "That being said, we've now confirmed that there have definitely been abrupt climate changes in the Earth's past that were the result of continually rising CO2 concentrations." Is total rubbish, CO2 has never caused any effects on climate in 600 million years. There is too little of it. Heating causes release of CO2 from the oceans, not the reverse. There was a man who taught a spider to march to order, and he demonstrated to a friend. He shouted, ''Spider Quick March,!'' and the spider marched. He then shouted, ''Spider Halt!'' and the spider halted. He repeated this several times. Then he pulled all the spiders legs off, put it it down, and shouted, ''Spider quick march!'' The spider didn't move. ''See!'' said the man, ''If you pull a spiders legs off it becomes stone deaf!''

TerryMoore
It is all a lot more complex that just CO2. During a pole shift far more 'greenhouse gas' is released from cracks in the earth and under the ocean as well as from the many volcanoes that wake up. Additional cloud generated through the loss of forest around the tropics also traps heat as well as ultimately cooling the planet surface. Climate change. One cause is simple...less trees in the tropics each year....less to absorb the suns radiation = tropical warming.p Higher temperature around the tropics = more moisture evaporated from the oceans producing much warmer denser and increased cloud production (hence more flooding in tropics where trees cover is reduced).....then more and denser ‘tropical rainforest clouds’ carrying more moisture escape the tropics as intense heat on cleared land creates lift to allow these clouds to escape the tropics on trade winds...hence cooling effect away from the tropics as cloud cover increases and increased rain and snow fall away from the tropics, whilst extra cloud cover also traps the extra heat travelling up from the tropics.....Less trees in the tropics each year = less biomass to sequester the CO2’....As the ocean warms, the warmer seas travel north to the Arctic and south to the Antarctic...as warmer air from the tropics travels north and south, air is warmer in the Arctic and in the Antarctic....simples!’ The warmer air and seas distorts the position of the jet stream pushing it north towards west Canada and north towards the UK but there is a counteractive force pushing the jet stream south at these points as a result of the increase in cloud cover escaping the Tropics which cools the ocean through reduced radiation from the sun. Read on if you do not understand!   Climate change on planet Earth. There is no dispute that this planet is undergoing climate change, indeed, throughout history, this planet has suffered much more serious climatic assaults on its surface and its inhabitants. The science however is confused by the allegation that there is GLOBAL warming. Here at the Cat Survival Trust www.catsurvivaltrust.org we have studied the effects and causes of climate change for over 30 years and much of our £200,000 library contains references to every contributory aspect of this still much misunderstood world issue. We became interested in the subject for a number of reasons which could have an impact on the long term survival of the world’s cat species and the food chain of fauna and flora on which they (and humans) rely. One very good example of direct cause and effect is the loss of habitat to snow leopard following the receding snow line up the slopes of the Himalayas which has encouraged more human settlement in snow leopard habitat and an increase in human/snow leopard conflict. What has become very apparent throughout our research is the problem that this subject is increasingly being studied in ever increasing minute detail by many agencies who fail to see the bigger picture.
Earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions and Pole Shift Historically, this planet has seen surges of earthquake, volcanic activity and general increases and decreases in temperature, but these changes have happened over many tens of thousands of years. Some changes have almost certainly happened suddenly as a result of asteroid strike and pole shift (see the current and predicted accelerating movement of the position of the North Pole at )http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/data/poles/NP.xy and have been accelerated by the affects of excessive plate movements causing extensive earthquakes  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ (then click the cog top right hand corner, select Magnitude 2.5 + worldwide to see how many earthquakes have occurred in the past month then hit search earthquake archives and hit the – button on the map to see the worldwide locations(1439 at 17.00 GMT 06.02.16 up from a few hundred 13 years ago!) and volcanic eruptions http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/erupting_volcanoes.html activity now up to 60 from thirteen years ago. See also http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/40-volcanoes-are-erupting-right-now-and-34-of-them-are-along-the-ring-of-fireCurrently, as a result of the pole shift, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions (211 active volcanoes!) are on the increase and there are over 3,500,000 fissures in deep ocean releasing much more greenhouse gas than man produces and pole shift will increase this volume. Just factor in the 3.5 million fissures in deep ocean pumping out 'greenhouse gases' and turning the oceans rapidly acidic (google 'acidification of the oceans') and the gases being released from the increased number of active volcanoes. Hence the huge spike in CO2 recorded by the IPCC! (It is not us driving 100 times more for the past few years!) The crust is on the move and it is putting stress on the crust....go to you tube and search 'cracks in the earth crust'...some are miles long and appear instantaneously! One example see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJEXQ8g24UU So prepare for more earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and more severe climate change in the future! Our next pole shift is well overdue....the last one caused mass extinctions worldwide. See also www.magneticreversal.org Florida sea level rise  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjZtdpD2XiE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JbzypWJk64 & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqfuie-fCzE where sea level rise is not to do with global sea rise but to do with pole shift as North America moves south towards the bulge of ocean at the Equator. Areas approaching the Equator are sinking, areas moving away from the Equator are rising.
In previous pole shifts, there is now strong evidence to show that leading up to such events, oxygen levels decrease as more 'poisonous and inflammable greenhouse gas' is released from the increased number of volcanic eruptions, deep ocean fissures and earthquakes. In addition, following massive volcanic eruptions, without sun to allow plants to grow converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, carbon dioxide levels increase and oxygen levels fall exponentially. See http://earth-pages.co.uk/2014/04/17/oxygen-magnetic-reversals-and-mass-extinctions/ Wild weather is on the increase monthly. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kz9rGhhPdc SOTT Earth changes July 2016.Then look at the many You Tube videos listed to the right of the aforementioned video to see how the situation has become much worse since July 2016.
Pole shift is having a massive affect on migratory sea life, birds and land mammals, hence the progressive increase in mass animal deaths (google 'mass animal deaths')(See Mass animal deaths for 2017 and see links at the end of the article for the statistics from 2011! http://www.end-times-prophecy.org/animal-deaths-birds-fish-end-times.html ) over the past 14 years. ( See also the many videos on you tube listed under 'mass animal deaths' ) Whales, dolphins, fish and birds in their thousands world wide are washing up on shore and the numbers are increasing. The movement 490 Km east of the magnetic north and a similar movement of the magnetic south westwards are confusing migration routes. Even some land mammals are observed to have altered migration routes.
piperTom
The entire global warming scare campaign rests on the predictions of the climate models adopted by the IPCC. So, NOW, we have a scientist saying, maybe - "we can't say for certain..." those models are wrong AND IT'S WORSE. Meanwhile, the actual data collected in the past two decades suggest that the climate models are wrong and it's better (more stable). Yet the later point is scoffed at by the alarmists, but THIS speculation is yet another reason to panic. Doesn't anybody remember the history of the stone age, when all the old SUVs and power plants caused a Climate Catastrophe for our mastodon hunting ancestors?
Grumpyrelic
"using a computer model that simulates the relationship between the atmosphere, ocean currents and sea ice levels." What about including the high humidity levels over land? That has more to do with air temperature than anything else. Perhaps people who worry about this stuff should hold their breath so they don't exhale any more humid air. That way the rest of the carbon based organisms on this planet can get on with their lives without hearing this chicken little stuff.
ErnieHarper
Comment on "Evidence of "tipping points" turning climate change from gradual to rapid:" These guys just won't give up. CO2 has been as high as 4400 ppm during an ice age. LET ME GET TO A COUPLE OF BOTTOM LINE DEBATE CLOSURES: This current and paltry CO2 at about 405 ppm or 1% of the atmosphere by volume where only 3% of the 1% is human contribution fails every attempt to prove GLOBAL CO2 DRIVES GOBAL TEMPERATURE! There is "NO" Scientist on this planet that has proven beyond a reasonable doubt CO2 in any form drives GLOBAL Temperature. PERIOD! Consider that hundreds of researchers consistently have shown CO2 FOLLOWS Temperature often by hundreds of years. This article is hyperbole X10. OH YES, for you who believe that 98% scientists agree nonsense, that was so blown away where many angry scientists denied it. THE UN COMMITTEE SUMMARY OUT RIGHT LIED as it was "they" who completely wrote that summary. In Short, they lied! That is in the record if you look objectively for the truth. Since the 2008 Climate Summit, the tide has turned. My research pulled 20 of 25 research papers showing a clear lack in planet wide peer reviewed evidence of any concentration of CO2 influence affecting Global temperature. FOLKS, the science is on the side (EVERT TIME) of we so-called "deniers!" Every time. Good day.
Bob
"The Day After Tomorrow" was an interesting movie that, although exaggerated, did provoke some thought. The problem today isn't global warming but who in government and business want to transfer wealth and power by pretending to fix it. When I see them planning a new electric rail system for the U.S. and efficient mass commuting for the cities, I will know they are serious about the real problem. Until then, I know they are just trying to pick our pockets and increase their power.