How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

The Little Ice Age at the Bottom of the World
Stenni, B., Proposito, M., Gragnani, R., Flora, O., Jouzel, J., Falourd, S. and Frezzotti, M.  2002.  Eight centuries of volcanic signal and climate change at Talos Dome (East Antarctica).  Journal of Geophysical Research 107: 10.1029/2000JD000317.

What was done
The authors studied a number of paleoclimatic indicators in two firn cores that were retrieved from the Talos Dome area of East Antarctica in 1996, with accurate dating being provided by non-sea-salt sulfate spikes associated with well-documented volcanic eruptions and with tritium activity associated with known atmospheric thermonuclear bomb tests.  The results were compared with those of other East Antarctica ice core records obtained from Dome C EPICA, Taylor Dome and the South Pole.

What was learned
In the words of the authors, the several records "suggest cooler climate conditions between the middle of [the] 16th and the beginning of [the] 19th centuries, which might be related to the Little Ice Age (LIA) cold period."  In addition, they documented a decrease in snow accumulation rate "during part of the LIA followed by an increment of about 11% in accumulation during the 20th century."

What it means
After discussing still other findings, the authors conclude that "more and more evidence coming from ice core records, glacier extension and other proxy records are leading to the idea that the Antarctic continent or at least East Antarctica also experienced the LIA cool episode."  We agree.  The Little Ice Age does indeed appear to have been a global phenomenon.

Reviewed 27 November 2002