Paleo Slide Set: Heinrich Events: Marine Record of Abrupt Climate Changes in the Late Pleistocene
An iceberg like this caused the sinking of the Titanic.
Long before the superliner Titanic crashed into an iceberg in 1912, the North Atlantic Ocean was widely considered one of the world's most dangerous waterways. Indeed, for thousands of years, the North Atlantic has been notorious for its cold, iceberg-infested waters, its stormy, unpredictable weather and its long, dark winters. For eons, ocean, atmosphere, and ice --the three elements you see in this slide of the Labrador Sea-- have formed a volatile climatic mix in these northern reaches of the world's third largest ocean.

The North Atlantic is not only dangerous, but also highly variable. In a state of nearly continuous flux, the region experiences changes on several different time-scales: winds suddenly increase within a few minutes as a frontal system passes by; longer, warmer days finally release the area from winter's icy grip; icebergs push further south after a string of successive cold years. All of these changes occur within relatively short units of time, but changes occur over much longer time scales as well. This slide set explores Heinrich events: climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic over the last 60,000 years.

Photo Credits:
Anne Jennings
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado-Boulder Boulder, Colorado

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