Ice core evidence for decoupling between mid-latitude atmospheric water cycle and Greenland temperature during the last deglaciation

The last deglaciation represents the most recent example of natural global warming associated with large-scale climate changes. In addition to the long-term global temperature increase, the last deglaciation onset is punctuated by a sequence of abrupt changes in the Northern Hemisphere. Such interplay between orbital- and millennial-scale variability is widely documented in paleoclimatic records but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Limitations arise from the difficulty in constraining the sequence of events between external forcing, high- and low- latitude climate and environmental changes. Greenland ice cores provide sub-decadal-scale records across the last deglaciation and contain fingerprints of climate variations occurring in different regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Here, we combine new ice d-excess and 17O-excess records, tracing changes in the mid-latitudes, with ice δ18O records of polar climate. Within Heinrich Stadial 1, we demonstrate a decoupling between climatic conditions in Greenland and those of the lower latitudes. While Greenland temperature remains mostly stable from 17.5 to 14.7ka, significant change in the mid latitudes of northern Atlantic takes place at ~16.2ka, associated with warmer and wetter conditions of Greenland moisture sources. We show that this climate modification is coincident with abrupt changes in atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations recorded in an Antarctic ice core. Our coherent ice core chronological framework and comparison with other paleoclimate records suggests a mechanism involving two-step freshwater fluxes in the North Atlantic associated with a southward shift of the intertropical convergence zone.


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Authors: Landais, Amaëlle, Capron, Emilie ORCIDORCID record for Emilie Capron, Masson-Delmotte, Valérie, Toucanne, Samuel, Rhodes, Rachael, Popp, Trevor, Vinther, Bo, Minster, Bénédicte, Prié, Frédéric

On this site: Emilie Capron
8 October, 2018
Climate of the Past / 14
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