How will the melting of ice in Greenland affect our climate? In order to gain an idea how that process might look like, researchers have taken a look into the past. In the early Holocene period – approximately 11,700 to 8,000 years ago – a large ice sheet melted in North America. By analysing dripstones in caves (speleothems) and using computer simulations, an international team headed by Dr Jasper Wassenburg at Ruhr-Universität Bochum reconstructed the consequences: today, a negative correlation is observed in the amount of rainfall in north-western Africa and north-western Europe. If a humid winter climate prevails in north-western Europe, the climate in north-western Africa is dry. Due to melting ice sheets, this correlation was reversed in the early Holocene period; this resulted in both regions being humid respectively dry at the same time. Radical climate change occurred. The researchers have published their report in the current edition of Nature Geoscience.

Read more Ruhr-University Bochum

National Snow and Ice Data Center: What is a glacier? Act Now