A series of large-scale ice discharges that took place in the western area between North America to North Pacific may have contributed to massive climate changes during the last ice age.
The new information reveals what might happen in the long run as liquid water from melted ice continues to flow into the North Pacific. By learning more about the interaction between the ocean and the glacial ice, researchers could make better predictions, facilitating the use of potential countermeasures.
Thousands of years ago, the Cordilleran ice sheet was used to cover large portions of the western side of North America, ranging from Alaska to the state of Washington and Montana. Tests of marine sediments have revealed that a series of ice discharges played a role in climate change at a global level.
Such data goes against theories, which argued that the climate disturbances came from the North Atlantic as a consequence of the fact that the Laurentide ice sheet was also losing ice at a fast pace, a phenomenon known as the Heinrich events.
The results are quite surprising for researchers, as it confirms that the ice melting events debuted in the North Pacific, and they were followed by the Heirich Events and subsequent changes in the form of a chain. As such, it is clear that the Pacific Ocean is more important for the climate than previously thought.
During the extensive study, an international team of researchers harvested and analyzed samples of sediment cores from the northern section of the Gulf of Alaska. Several years were spent on in-depth laboratory tests that involved a large number of participants. It is also worth noting that they were pioneers as no one had researched the subject in the past.
A comprehensive study has been published in a scientific journal.