Monday, January 5, 2015

Hottest year ever? Giant clam reveals Middle Ages were warmer than today | Watts Up With That?

Two recent papers, one is in Earth-Science Reviews and the other is in Chinese Science Bulletin, have studied key chemical contents in micro-drilled giant clams shells and coral samples to demonstrate that in the South China Sea the warm period of the Middle Ages was warmer than the present.

The scientists examined surveys of the ratio of strontium to calcium content and heavy oxygen isotopes, both are sensitive recorders of sea surface temperatures past and present. The aragonite bicarbonate of the Tridacna gigas clam-shell is so fine-grained that daily growth-lines are exposed by micro-drilling with an exceptionally fine drill-bit, allowing an exceptionally detailed time-series of sea-temperature changes to be compiled – a feat of detection worthy of Sherlock Holmes himself.
By using overlaps between successive generations of giant clams and corals, the three scientists – Hong Yan of the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Yuhong Wang of Fudan University, Shanghai – reconstructed a record of sea-surface temperature changes going back 2500 years.

The Roman and Mediaeval Warm Periods both showed up prominently in the western Pacific and East Asia. Sea surface temperatures varied considerably over the 2500-year period. (CONTINUED)

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Hottest year ever? Giant clam reveals Middle Ages were warmer than today | Watts Up With That?

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