Thursday, July 5, 2007

Greenland's ancient forests shed light on stability of ice sheet

Again, as below, we're still learning.

From EurekAlert:

The research implies that ancient forests covered southern Greenland during a period of increased global temperatures, known as an interglacial period. When temperatures fell again, the area became covered in ice. This ice sheet appears to have remained during the last interglacial period (116,000-130,000 years ago) when the temperature was 5°C warmer than today, contrary to the view currently held by scientists. Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, also at the University of Copenhagen, has shown that in fact, even during this interglacial period, the ice thickness at Dye 3 would have been reduced to between 1 km to 1.5km.

"If our data is correct, then this means that the southern Greenland ice cap is more stable than previously thought," says Professor Willerslev. "This may have implications for how the ice sheets respond to global warming."

However, Professor Willerslev was keen to dismiss the idea that this meant sea levels would not rise to the levels predicted by scientific models.