Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Violent Arctic storm a climate-change ‘harbinger,’ study finds

The Inuvialuit living in the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories watched incredulously in September of 1999, as a particularly violent storm

swept the Arctic Ocean 20 kilometres inland, killing all vegetation in its path and leaving lakes infused with salt water.

Local elders said nothing like it had ever happened in the known history of their people – and it turns out they were right.

Scientists from Carleton University in Ottawa and Queen’s University in Kingston, who attribute the surge to global warming, have looked at tree trunks and lake beds to determine that no comparable event has occurred in at least 1,000 years.

“It’s just another example of how recent climatic factors seem to be out of our normal range of variability,” John Smol, a professor at the Paleoecological Environment Assessment and Research Lab at Queen’s, said Monday as the study was about to be released. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands