Climate scientists have studied ice cores from Nevado Huascaran, located in the Peruvian Andes, to understand the impact of climate change over the decades. The research, carried out by researchers at Ohio State University (OSU), provides unprecedented insights into the climate history of the Amazon Basin over the past six decades. A study like this is important because unlike poles, samples from tropical areas can reveal a lot about phenomena like El Nino and movement of the monsoon winds, said researchers.
Nevado Huascaran is the world’s highest tropical mountain.
The team collected four samples – two from the summit (nearly 7,000 metres above the sea level) and rest from mountain col, the lowest point between two ridges.
These two samples helped scientists compare the amount of oxygen in glacial ice and different elevations. They were able to determine temperature changes in the region over time.
The team discovered that ice from the summit were more sensitive to largescale changes in sea surface temperature, compared to sample from lower elevations.
This discovery is crucial because it depicts different aspects of the region’s climate history at varying elevations.
Overall, the research revealed that changes in surface temperature is impacting the summit more rapidly.
“From a paleo-climate perspective, the data tells us that these cores may be useful for looking at the history of El Nino in the tropics,” said Austin Weber, lead author of the study and a PhD student at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Centre at the university.
“And we don’t really have very good histories of that because there are not many observational data sets or historical records for the tropics,” he added.
This research will help them understand the reason behind the accelerated retreat of ice from Nevado Huascaran, as well as Earth’s intricate ocean-atmosphere system.