An international team of scientists has recently conducted a new investigation on Earth's past climate changes, primarily those affecting the Arctic. For the purpose, they collected sediment samples from a lake in southeastern Yukon Territory, Canada.
Investigators paid special attention to geochemical records indicating water-level changes in Rantin Lake, a landscape feature located in Yukon's famed boreal forests. The researchers also analyzed sediments collected from the bottom of the lake.
Details of the study were published in the April online issue of the esteemed Journal of Paleolimnology, as part of a series of 18 other papers, all dedicated to understanding the evolution of Arctic climate during the Holocene period.
The latter occurred some 12,000 years ago, and includes the end of the last Ice Age. What scientists want to do is reconstruct the history of climate variations. They believe that this will enable them to understand current climate trends in more detail.
The international team included American investigators from the University of Pittsburgh
Department of Geology and Planetary Science. Pitt PhD geology student David Pompeani was the lead author of the journal entry.
“During the last 10,000 years, there have been certain times in which rapid climate change events occurred. By analyzing Rantin Lake, we’ve contributed a piece of the puzzle toward mapping the timing and magnitude of these prehistoric events throughout the Arctic,” he explains.
The reason Rantin Lake was selected over other locations in the region is that it represents a significant portion of a watershed that connects multiple, small lakes. All of these landscape features communicate with each other through an intricate groundwater flow.
“About 8,400 years ago, the lake almost dried out. We documented the timing of this drought and studied its transition to conditions more typical of what we observed in the late Holocene,” Pompeani goes on to say.
Rantin Lake is located at 60 degrees latitude North, just 30 degrees away from the North Pole. Regions above this line are expected to feel the effects of global warming with increased intensity compared to areas closer to the Equator and the tropics.