Scientists Probe Antarctic Ice to Settle Climate Debates
“The first samples already reveal intriguing evidence of climate complexity. In ice layers attributed to the Middle Ages, when Europe was unusually warm, the team found surprisingly high levels of carbon black particles, or soot. Levels were found to be twice as high as during the more heavily populated and industrialized 20th century, says geochemist Ross Edwards at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev.
Overlooked in climate projections until recently, carbon black is a powerful warming agent. The soot, scientists speculate, came from giant wildfires that likely occurred in Australia and South America. So much soot could have raised temperatures.
Preliminary tests also showed that soot levels dropped during the cooler centuries after the Middle Ages, a period known as the Little Ice Age.”
More than soot on icesheets, there is soot on snow at lower latitudes changing albedo values. During Spring there can be high shortwave incoming with snow on the ground.