Icebergs arrived too late to cause the abrupt cooling in the North Atlantic over the past 440,000 years, according to a press release from the University of Cardiff. Some scientists had previously blamed the cooling on large numbers of icebergs influencing ocean currents, which have a large impact on the Earth’s climate.
The scientists agreed with previous research which linked significant climate cooling events with glacier movements. However, they also discovered that the cooling events took place after the glaciers arrived on the scene, not before.
Scientists used sediment core samples from the North Atlantic to reach their conclusions. The recent research also showed that the abrupt cooling that occurred after the glaciers’ movements also followed milder cooling events, suggesting that the abrupt cooling was a non-linear response to lower temperatures, and is one of many facets about climate behavior that is not well understood.
Future research is expected to include glacier behavior from even earlier times, going up to nearly 2 million years ago. The scientists hope to get a more complete picture of the Pleistocene period in an attempt to understand glacial movements and cooling behavior on a much larger timescale.