Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Paper: The High Alps were warmer 30,000 years ago than today

A paper published last week in the journal Quaternary International finds that the High Alps during the Middle Würmian period (65,000 - 30,000 years ago) "had to be warmer than it is today."

Was the Middle Würmian in the High Alps warmer than today?

Doris Döppes et al

Abstract: This study presents a cohesive review of the existing radiometric data as well as morphological and genetic analysis of bear remains from ten high-alpine caves, mostly from the Middle Würmian Interstadial complex, roughly corresponding to the marine isotope stage (MIS) 3 and dating back between 65,000-30,000 years before present. Today these caves are located in an area without any vegetation, which could not provide the herbivorous bears with sufficient food resources. It therefore can be concluded that the Middle Würmian in the Alps had to be warmer than it is today. Furthermore, congruent and conflicting data from soil formation in loess sequences as well as sinter data in caves are discussed in more detail to evaluate this hypothesis.

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