U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Influence of Bering Strait Flow and North Atlantic Circulation on Past Sea Level Changes
Published: January 11, 2010
Posted: January 20, 2010

New research published this week in Nature Geosciences, indicates that water levels in the Bering Strait helped drive global climate patterns during ice age episodes dating back more than 100,000 years. The DOE- and National Science Foundation-funded international study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), found that the repeated opening and closing of the narrow strait due to fluctuating sea levels affected currents that transported heat and salinity in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. As a result, summer temperatures in parts of North America and Greenland oscillated between comparatively warm and cold phases, causing ice sheets to alternate between expansion and retreat and affecting sea levels worldwide. These findings highlight the complexity of Earth's climate system and the fact that seemingly insignificant changes can lead to dramatic tipping points for climate patterns, especially in and around the Arctic.

Reference: Hu, A., G. A. Meehl, B. L. Otto-Bliesner, C. Waelbroeck, W. Han, M.-F. Loutre, K. Lambeck, J. X. Mitrovica, and N. Rosenbloom. 2009. "Influence of Bering Strait Flow and North Atlantic Circulation on Glacial Sea Level Changes, Nature Geosciences 3, 118–121. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO729. (Reference link)

Contact: Anjuli Bamzai, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0294, Renu Joseph, SC-23.1, (301) 903-9237
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)