Stalagmites Hold Record of Hurricane Events

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Stalagmites Hold Record of Hurricane Events

Postby Cheryl Jones » Feb 3, 2007 9:13 pm

From February Geology and GSA Today media highlights

Stalagmite stable isotope record of recent tropical cyclone events
Amy Benoit Frappier, Boston College, Geology and Geophysics, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA; et al. Pages 111-114.

Satellite and historical records of tropical cyclone events (tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons) are too brief to settle the scientific debate over possible links between climate change and hurricane activity.

Paleotempestology, the study of ancient storms, aims to understand the causes of storminess by analyzing records of prehistoric storm activity.

Frappier et al. present a new tool for paleotempestology that relies on evidence of hurricane rainfall preserved in caves. Although cave formations (stalagmites) grow relatively slowly, the researchers used a high-precision computer-controlled sampling device to extract an approximately weekly to monthly record of climatic variability from a Belize stalagmite, including individual historical hurricane events.

This new technique has the potential to shed new light on hurricane-climate interactions by enabling the reconstruction of storm frequency and intensity even farther in the past than was previously possible. ... 012607.php
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