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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Researchers unveil evidence of Global Climate Change from stalactites and stalagmites to help tackle future impact

The Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TRSI) in collaboration with the Natural Sciences Research Foundation of the People’s Republic of China (NSFC) have joined forces to tackle ‘Climate Change’ for the 11th consecutive year, in order to create a joint eco-friendly culture by sharing knowledge and cooperating with research to solve global environmental issues.

Dr. Chotika Muangsong, Lecturer at the Bachelor of Liberal Arts Program on Innovation in Social and Environmental Management, Mahidol University, Amnat Charoen Campus, shared that Global Climate Change is affected by cycles, such as the sun’s periodic 11 year sunspot cycle phenomenon that causes a decrease of solar power. The study of past environmental issues is of extreme importance to address future Global Climate Changes and, adding the likelihood of this phenomenon happening again in the next 11 years, this evidence will help us confirm future weather forecasts more accurately and help us know how to tackle future issues.

Prof. Chotika added that, “from working in this area for many years, we can only see the effects of Global Climate Change from 2 to 4 cycles as we only have official records to study 100 – 200 years back. This may not be sufficient to be used as evidence to forecast major crises due to the occurrence of other events such as huge floods, droughts, or even the end of the Ice Age. It is necessary to go back ten thousand years in order to answer questions about the origins of these phenomena. The study of stalactites and stalagmites in caves and the study of the wood year circle, are valuable sources because both of these variables can provide accurate age values and have been widely studied.”

The Tham Khlang area of Krabi and the Phu Pha Phet Cave, Satun, which are geothermal parks with natural abundance, are a valuable resource for the study of stalactite and stalagmite age. The study uses the isotope method of measuring oxygen 18 obtained from rainfall, which attains the difference in the specific chemical composition of that element. If the test results have a large isotope value , it indicates there has been low rainfall during their formation. The advantages of this study, beside the values of annual rainfall, is that we can see that the nature of rain in Thailand, on a monthly basis, varies due to the different humidity influences, such as the Indian Ocean between May and July and other oceans from August to October.

In addition, the study of the past 10 years has found that El Niño, a natural phenomenon that occurs every 5 and a half years in the equator on the east coast and the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is an important factor that causes climate change in Thailand. Previously El Niño was believed to only cause changes in the weather system in the tropical areas and in North America but, due to it causing the surface temperature of the ocean to rise, it’s effects are also felt elsewhere in the world. Another study that goes 5,000 years back, shows the effect of the movement of the monsoon in Global Climate Change as well, and is also a valuable resource to map out global climate changes.

Therefore, the next challenge of this study is to be able to accurately specify in which periods of the year phenomena will occur and during which periodicity of years. These studies are comprised of precision required knowledge in many relevant areas, whether it is the study of microbes, ocean education, or other related fields, and will help to tackle Global Climate Change by emphasizing on the accuracy of past events and then using this valuable knowledge to plan on how to handle future events in a timely manner.

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