NGRIP CH4 concentration from 120 to 10 kyr before present and its relation to a δ15N temperature reconstruction from the same ice core

During the last glacial cycle, Greenland temperature showed many rapid temperature variations, the so called Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) events. The past atmospheric methane concentration closely followed these temperature variations, which implies that the warmings recorded in Greenland were probably hemispheric in extent. Here we substantially extend and complete the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) methane record from Termination 1 back to the end of the last interglacial period with a mean time resolution of 54 yr. We relate the amplitudes of the methane increases associated with DO events to the amplitudes of the NGRIP temperature increases derived from stable nitrogen isotope (δ15N) measurements, which have been performed along the same ice core. We find the sensitivity to oscillate between 5 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) per °C and 18 ppbv °C−1 with the approximate frequency of the precessional cycle. A remarkably high sensitivity of 25.5 ppbv °C−1 is reached during Termination 1. Analysis of the timing of the fast methane and temperature increases reveals significant lags of the methane increases relative to NGRIP temperature for the DO events 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 19, and 20. We further show that the relative interpolar concentration difference of methane is 4.6 ± 0.7% between the DO events 18 and 19 and 4.4 ± 0.8% between the DO events 19 to 20, which is in the same order as in the stadials before and after DO event 2 around the Last Glacial Maximum.


Publication status:
Authors: Baumgartner, M., Kindler, P., Eicher, O., Floch, G., Schilt, A., Schwander, J., Spahni, R., Capron, E. ORCIDORCID record for E. Capron, Chappellaz, J., Leuenberger, M., Fischer, H., Stocker, T. F.

On this site: Emilie Capron
30 April, 2014
Climate of the Past / 10
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