Visiting Assistant Professor of Geology Bruce Rueger is in Bermuda with a team from the Geological Survey of Canada in Nova Scotia to look at how global warming is affecting the sea levels around the island. By studying the levels around Bermuda, which already has a rich set of historical data dating back to the 1960s, the team hopes to gain insight into how global warming is affecting the Atlantic Ocean. As team memeber and geologist Steve Biasco points out, “We share the Atlantic. Whatever is happening in Bermuda is happening in Canada too.”
The island is of particular interest to scientists studying sea levels because there are at least three drowned forests around it, and that is where professor Rueger comes in.
“Dr. Rueger’s expertise is vegetation of the past,” said Mr. Blasco. “He looks at what it was like here over the past 1,000 years. Trees, plants and bushes all have pollen which is blown by the wind. It is blown offshore too, and it accumulates on the bottom over time. Over geologic time you get different layers. Looking at these different layers will allow Dr. Rueger to reconstruct the history of Bermuda vegetation between 7,000 and 15,000 years ago.”
By radiocarbon dating the samples, Dr. Rueger tried to answer such questions as, ‘how far in the past was Bermuda covered by cedar forests’, and ‘were there other important trees on the Island’.
“Mr. Rueger is important to our story, because knowing the type of vegetation that was here will tell us something about the climate. It will tell us whether it was cooler, hotter, warmer or wetter, drier. Over the next couple of years we will learn what it was like here over the last couple thousand years.
Read the complete story: Project tracks how global warming is affecting our rising sea levels [via Royal Gazette (Bermuda)]