Contact: Sina Loeschke
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Caption: During the cold stadial periods of the last ice age, massive ice sheets covered northern parts of North America and Europe. Strong northwest winds drove the Arctic sea ice southward, even as far as the French coast. Since the extended ice cover over the North Atlantic prevented the exchange of heat between the atmosphere and the ocean, the strong driving forces for the ocean currents that prevail today were lacking. Ocean circulation, which is a powerful "conveyor belt" in the world's oceans, was thus much weaker than at present, and consequently transported less heat to northern regions.
Credit: Map: Alfred-Wegener-Institut
Usage Restrictions: None
Related news release: Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?