Advanced analysis of thermal data observed in subsurface wells unmasks the ancient climate

Lev Eppelbaum, Izzy M. Kutasov

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Conventional methods of studying the ancient climate history are associated with statistical processing of accomplished meteorological data. These investigations have focused attention on meteorological records of air temperature, which can provide information on the only last 100-200 years. Number of the records is absolutely insufficient and their areal coverage is limited, some oldest meteorological stations may have been affected by local warming connected with urban and industrial growth. At the same time significant climate changes are accompanied by the corresponding variations in the Earth's surface (soil) temperature. This effect is based on the known physical law that temperature waves at the surface propagate downward into the subsurface with an amplitude attenuation and time delay increasing with depth. Earth's temperature profiles, measured by precise temperature logging T(z) in boreholes to depth of about 80-300 meters, have a 'memory' on what has happened on the surface during approximately several last centuries. Knowledge of the past climate in archaeology is necessary not only for tracing some ancient events and more deep understanding some historical facts, but also for estimation of past harvests, analysis of some physical conditions of different constructions built in the past, and in many other fields (Eppelbaum, 2010; Eppelbaum et al., 2010). The first attempts to recover the past ground surface temperature history (GSTH) from measured T(z) profiles date back to the mid-1960s, however only after Lachenbruch et al. (1988) pointed out that the magnitude and timing of the ground surface warming in Alaska is consistent with models of the recent warming, the method became popular (Cermak et al., 1996). Let us assume that tx years ago from now the ground surface temperature started to increase (warming) or reduce (cooling). Prior to this moment the subsurface temperature is: Ta(z,t = 0) = T0a + Γ z, (1) where T0a is the mean ground surface temperature at the moment of time t = 0 years; z is the vertical depth and Γ is the geothermal gradient. It is also assumed that the host medium is homogeneous with constant thermal properties.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-3
JournalGeophysical Research Abstracts
StatePublished - 2014
Eventthe 10th EUG Meeting - Austria, Vienna
Duration: 27 Apr 20142 May 2014


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