From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Last Glacial Maximum
Mains level : Nature induced Climate Change
Researchers analysed simulations of this past climate and predicted that the ongoing climate change could reawaken an ancient climate pattern of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Try this question from CSP 2017:
Q.With reference to ‘Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)’, sometimes mentioned in the news while forecasting Indian monsoon, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. IOD phenomenon is characterized by a difference in sea surface temperature between tropical Western Indian Ocean and tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean.
2. An IOD phenomenon can influence El Nino’s impact on the monsoon.
Select the correct Option using the code given below:
(a) Only 1
(b) Only 2
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
The Last Glacial Maximum
- The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets were at their greatest extent.
- Vast ice sheets covered much of North America, Northern Europe, and Asia and profoundly affected Earth’s climate by causing drought, desertification, and a large drop in sea levels.
- Growth of ice sheets commenced 33,000 years ago and maximum coverage was between 26,500 years and 19–20,000 years ago, when deglaciation commenced in the Northern Hemisphere.
- It caused an abrupt rise in sea level.
Shells predict IOR climate variability
- By studying microscopic zooplankton called foraminifera, the team had published a paper in 2019 which first found evidence from the past of an Indian Ocean El Niño.
- Foraminifera builds a calcium carbonate shell, and studying these can tell us about the properties of the water in which they lived.
- The team measured multiple individual shells of foraminifera from ocean sediment cores and was able to reconstruct the sea surface temperature conditions of the past.
- The Indian Ocean has the capacity to harbour much larger climate variability than observed during the last few decades or a century.
Lessons to learn
- There are many lessons to be learnt from this cooler period about our warmer future.
- As it is, under present-day conditions, changes in the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation strongly affect Indian Monsoon variability from year to year.
- If the hypothesized ‘equatorial mode’ emerges in the near future, it will pose another source of uncertainty in rainfall prediction and will likely amplify swings in monsoon rainfall.
- It could bring more frequent droughts to East Africa and southern India and increased rainfall over Indonesia.