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UAEU researcher reveals effects of rising temperatures

North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling 'NEEM

The North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling ‘NEEM’ is an international ice-core research project that was established to retrieve an ice-core from North-West Greenland reaching back through the previous interglacial years, the Eemian, which ended about 130,000 years ago. The project was led by scientists from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

More than 2.5 km of ice-core was collected through cooperating research groups from 13 nations which included Prof. Ala Aldahan, a scientist from the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).

Prof. Ala Aldahan said, “These ice-core samples from the Eemian contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of climate change under conditions similar to those of a future warming climate, which is projected to be 2-4°C warmer by the end of this century.”

The results of this NEEM project which began in 2007, have recently been published in the prominent scientific journal ‘Nature’, and indicate that the last interglacial period may be a good analog for where the planet is heading in the face of increasing greenhouse gases and rising temperatures.

The results show that 115,000 to 130,000 years ago, during the Eemian interglacial, the climate in North Greenland was about 8°C warmer than the present temperature. Despite the strong warming signal during the Eemian – a period where the seas were roughly four to eight meters higher than today – the surface in the vicinity of NEEM was only a few hundred meters lower than its present level, which indicates the Greenland ice sheet may have contributed less than half of the total sea level rise at the time, with the melting of the Antarctica contributing to the other half, according to Prof. Aldahan.

Professor Aldahan has strong engagement in the ice archive research both in the Antarctica and the Arctic where he focuses mainly on the geochemical distribution of radioactive and stable isotopes and the relation to climate change in cooperation with the Tandem Laboratory at Uppsala University. In particular, effects of the solar activity cycles and the Earth’s magnetic field on climatic change are investigated.

The research is also linked to sediment archives on land and in the sea where information about climate change during the past 5 million years are now gathered from sediments sections in the northern UAE. Another key area of research is prepared on the hydro-geochemistry of groundwater, especially variability of radioactivity, in different aquifers in the UAE in cooperation with the Center for Nuclear Technologies, Technical University of Denmark.

Prof. Aldahan has published over 120 papers in international journals and over 250 conference abstracts and has supervised 15 PhD’s and several postdocs and young researchers.

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