UQ study – Global change takes thousands of years
Story submitted by Eric Worrall
A University of Queensland study into New Zealand glaciers has discovered a huge disparity between Southern and Northern Hemisphere climates, during the natural warming which occurred at the end of the last Ice Age. The new study overturns the previous consensus that glacial retreat occurred globally at the same time – the study shows that glacial retreat in New Zealand was delayed by thousands of years.
According to Professor Jamie Shulmeister, head of the UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management;
“This study reverses previous findings which suggested that New Zealand’s glaciers disappeared at the same time as ice in the Northern Hemisphere,” he said.
“We showed that when the Northern Hemisphere started to warm at the end of the last ice age, New Zealand glaciers were unaffected. “These glaciers began to retreat several thousand years later, when changes in the Southern Ocean led to increased carbon dioxide emissions and warming.
”This indicates that future climate change may impact differently in the two hemispheres and that changes in the Southern Ocean are likely to be critical for Australia and New Zealand.”
The study described in the press release, in my opinion, has interesting implications for modern climate change. Even if alarmists are right about climate sensitivity to CO2, if the Pacific Ocean has the capacity to retard major climate shifts, for thousands of years, then we have thousands of years to solve any problems we might be causing – which kind of takes the urgency out of the issue.