by OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY, June 6, 2021 in WUWT
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of two methods for reconstructing ancient temperatures has given climate researchers a better understanding of just how cold it was in Antarctica during the last ice age around 20,000 years ago.
Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth today, was even colder during the last ice age. For decades, the leading science suggested ice age temperatures in Antarctica were on average about 9 degrees Celsius cooler than at present.
An international team of scientists, led by Oregon State University’s Christo Buizert, has found that while parts of Antarctica were as cold as 10 degrees below current temperatures, temperatures over central East Antarctica were only 4 to 5 degrees cooler, about half of the previous estimates.
The findings were published this week in Science.
“This is the first conclusive and consistent answer we have for all of Antarctica,” said Buizert, an Oregon State University climate change specialist. “The surprising finding is that the amount of cooling is very different depending on where you are in Antarctica. This pattern of cooling is likely due to changes in the ice sheet elevation that happened between the ice age and today.”
Understanding the planet’s temperature during the last ice age is critical to understanding the transition from a cold to a warm climate and to modeling what might occur as the planet warms as a result of climate change today, said Ed Brook, a paleoclimatologist at OSU and one of the paper’s co-authors.…