Climate capers of the past 600,000 years

by Staff Writers, TerraDaily Bonn, Germany (SPX) Nov 18, 2014

“Fluctuations in climate were due in large part to periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit parameters.”

If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. An international consortium of researchers under the auspices of the University of Bonn has drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern Turkey) which provide unique insights into the last 600,000 years. The samples reveal that the climate has done its fair share of mischief-making in the past.


In the sediments of Lake Van, the lighter-colored, lime-containing summer layers are clearly distinguishable from the darker, clay-rich winter layers — also called varves. In 2010, from a floating platform an international consortium of researchers drilled a 220 m deep sediment profile from the lake floor at a water depth of 360 m and analyzed the varves. The samples they recovered are a unique scientific treasure because the climate conditions, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions of the past 600,000 years can be read in outstanding quality from the cores.

The team of scientists under the auspices of the University of Bonn has analyzed some 5,000 samples in total. “The results show that the climate over the past hundred thousand years has been a roller coaster. Within just a few decades, the climate could tip from an ice age into a warm period,” says Doctor Thomas Litt of the University of Bonn’s Steinmann Institute and spokesman for the PALEOVAN international consortium of researchers.

Unbroken continental climate archives from the ice age which encompass several hundred thousand years are extremely rare on a global scale. “There has never before in all of the Middle East and Central Asia been a continental drilling operation going so far back into the past,” says Doctor Litt. In the northern hemisphere, climate data from ice-cores drilled in Greenland encompass the last 120,000 years. The Lake Van project closes a gap in the scientific climate record.

The sediments reveal six cycles of cold and warm periods
Scientists found evidence for a total of six cycles of warm and cold periods in the sediments of Lake Van. The University of Bonn paleoecologist and his colleagues analyzed the pollen preserved in the sediments.


These analyses enable the team of researchers to read the varves of Lake Van like thousands of pages of an archive. With these data, the team was able to demonstrate that fluctuations in climate were due in large part to periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit parameters and the commensurate changes in solar insolation levels.

Read the rest HERE.


7 thoughts on “Climate capers of the past 600,000 years

  1. Anthony j. Mengotto November 20, 2014 / 8:04 pm

    Russ, Did you hear what happened in buffalo N.Y.? Record breaking lake effect snow. This will go down in the record books, 70 inches and counting, the forecast is for another 24-36 inches by Friday 11/21/2014. Here is a video of it When I seen this, I asked myself, is this a one time rare event? Or is this a beginning of what maybe a number of events in the future of heavy lake effect snow every season, when the artic air or the polar vortex comes down and blows over the Great Lakes year after year until they freeze over in the winter.

    • Russ Steele November 20, 2014 / 9:15 pm

      I have been wondering myself, if this was a one off event, or the start of a longer trend. We will have to wait and see what Mother Nature bring us.

  2. Ray Baney November 21, 2014 / 5:33 am

    Russ, Does Dr Litt have a graphic chart illustrating the cycles he found over the last 600,000 years?

  3. Anthony j. Mengotto November 21, 2014 / 6:15 pm

    Russ, This post at The Space and Science Research Corp. was posted yesterday on 11/20/2014. The post is about a big temperature drop coming in 2015-2016 by as much as 1.5c degrees. Here is the link We are about to experience a taste of the Dalton minimum temps!!

  4. tom0mason January 21, 2015 / 4:14 am

    Reading from the link, nature again shows how robust (and not frgile) it is. Through ice-ages and volcanic eruptions pollen is still found. Yes it varies in volume and plant types, but given some CO2 and sunlight and pow! plants grow (our ultimate source of nutition). Utterly remarkable.

    On a different tac, that pollen was made by plants by the action of CO2 and sunlight. A few million tons of pollen must be lost to the lake-beds and sea beds every year arround the world, along with all the dead plankton and microscopic plants and animals. To make all these organisms takes energy, mostly directly from the sun. I wonder where in the much acclaimed ‘global energy balance’ this is factored in as a systemic loss?

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