Ohio State Scientists Study Past, Future Of Climate Change By Looking At Ice Cores


After last year's heat and drought followed by Super Storm Sandy, many are hoping for a year of better weather.

Scientists at OSU say more extreme events are in the future. They can tell by looking deep into the past with a new discovery.

The scientist cuts samples of a giant ice cube for study at the Ohio State University Byrd Polar Center. Teams drilled hundreds of feet into glaciers for ice cores and found a prize in Peru.

"It has in its record, an annual history of things like temperature and precipitation, environmental changes going back one thousand, 800 years," said Dr. Lonnie G. Thompson with OSU Earth Sciences.

Thompson said the yearly timeline in the new ice core is so clear he calls it a Rosetta Stone. It confirms climate changes found in cores half a world away.

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They have worked on ice fields from Tibet to Antarctica. Dr. Ellen Mosley-Thompson said as snow falls on glaciers each year, it traps whatever the wind brings.

"Whether it's dust from a forest fire or a perfectly preserved insect," Mosley-Thompson said.

Or chemicals from manmade products.

"The thing that really stands out is the warming, the warming of last 50 or 60 years,” Mosley-Thompson said.

They saw ice fields shrink, and were among the first to predict global warming.

"Anywhere from 95 to 100 percent are retreating in all the mountain ranges around our planet,” she said.

Thompson called it a “canary in the coal mine” situation. He said heat pours more energy into the climate machine, and creates extreme weather. His Rosetta Stone shows nothing like it has happened the past, which makes him worry for the future.

"If we had glaciers here in Ohio, people would be very concerned about what's happening to them," Thompson said.

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