APR 28, 2017 5:26 AM PDT

Transylvanian Ice Cave Gives a Peep into Climate History

Most knowledge about climate history comes from organic information such as tree ring width, pollen and fossils of organisms that thrive during warm growing seasons. Until now there has been a gap in climate history because little is known about cold, winter seasons. Yet cores drilled from an ice cave in Transylvania may help fill in that gap with evidence about the region’s climate during the Holocene period.

A view from inside the ice cave. Photo Credit: Gigi Fratila & Claudiu Szabo

The new study was recently published in Scientific Report and comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Romanian Ministry of Education, with scientists from many institutions collaborating in order to determine what the North Atlantic’s climate looked like during the past 10,000 years.

The glacier is the oldest glacier cave in the world, at approximately 10,500 years old, according to radiocarbon dating of leaf and wood fragments in its ice. In the depths of the cave, Scărișoara, there are layers of frozen snow and rain that act as records of chemical evidence of past winter temperature changes. The cave is in the Apuseni Mountains and the area surrounding it gets rain and snow from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, which is why it is perfect to study changes in the storm patterns across East and Central Europe, report the scientists.

"Our data allow us to reconstruct the interplay between Atlantic and Mediterranean sources of moisture," Bogdan Onac of USF said. "We can also draw conclusions about past atmospheric circulation patterns, with implications for future climate changes. Our research offers a long-term context to better understand these changes."

The researchers looking at the ice cores determined that winter in Eastern and Central Europe exhibit a warming trend. Temperatures reached the highest about 7,000 to 5,000 years ago and decreased afterward toward the Little Ice Age, 150 years ago, explains Science Daily.

“A major shift in atmospheric dynamics occurred during the mid-Holocene, when winter storm tracks switched and produced wetter and colder conditions in northwestern Europe, and the expansion of a Mediterranean-type climate toward southeastern Europe,” reports NSF.

The scientists are currently working to broaden the depth of their knowledge by extending the record back 13,000 years or more.

Sources: NSF, Science Daily, Nature

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Ancient Mars volcanism created rare mineral
AUG 06, 2022
Ancient Mars volcanism created rare mineral
In a collaborative study slated to be published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters this September, planetary scienti ...
AUG 11, 2022
Technology
Researchers can process data 1 million times faster than human brain
AUG 11, 2022
Researchers can process data 1 million times faster than human brain
In a recent study published in Science, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have pr ...
AUG 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Stars and Black Holes immediately after Big Bang
AUG 18, 2022
Stars and Black Holes immediately after Big Bang
In a recent study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of researchers from the Uni ...
AUG 17, 2022
Earth & The Environment
The Wreck of The Endurance Has Been Discovered in Antarctica
AUG 17, 2022
The Wreck of The Endurance Has Been Discovered in Antarctica
The expedition of Endurance was one of the legends. It is one of the most harrowing survival stories in naval history.
AUG 24, 2022
Neuroscience
Is Playfulness a Sign Your Dog is Gifted?
AUG 24, 2022
Is Playfulness a Sign Your Dog is Gifted?
Is Playfulness a Sign Your Dog is Gifted?  Every dog owner thinks their canine is above average intelligence, but o ...
SEP 20, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Develop Novel Technique to Locate Baby Planets
SEP 20, 2022
Astronomers Develop Novel Technique to Locate Baby Planets
In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, an international team of researchers have created a no ...
Loading Comments...