Research Article

A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  19 Feb 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6531, pp. 811-818
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb8677

You are currently viewing the editor's summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Reversing the field

Do terrestrial geomagnetic field reversals have an effect on Earth's climate? Cooper et al. created a precisely dated radiocarbon record around the time of the Laschamps geomagnetic reversal about 41,000 years ago from the rings of New Zealand swamp kauri trees. This record reveals a substantial increase in the carbon-14 content of the atmosphere culminating during the period of weakening magnetic field strength preceding the polarity switch. The authors modeled the consequences of this event and concluded that the geomagnetic field minimum caused substantial changes in atmospheric ozone concentration that drove synchronous global climate and environmental shifts.

Science, this issue p. 811

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science