Latest Issue of Science News


News

It's high tide for ice age climate change

Earth's climate veers between warm and cool roughly every 1,500 years. Many scientists have thought that sunspots choreograph these fluctuations, but new research puts the spotlight on the moon.

A few years ago geochemist Charles D. Keeling and geophysicist Timothy P. Whorf, both of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., suggested that Earth's climate doesn't swing with sunspot rhythms but instead syncopates to the beat of the tides.

When tides are higher than usual, the scientists say, they bring colder water to the surface from deep in the ocean and lead to an overall Earth cooling. In a report in the April 11 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers propose that the tides may sometimes be strong enough to tug Earth into an ice age.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.