Regional imprints of millennial variability during the MIS 3 period around Antarctica

The climate of the last glacial Marine Isotopic Stage 3 (MIS3) period is characterized by strong millennial-scale variability with a succession of Dansgaard–Oeschger events first identified in Greenland ice cores and associated with variations of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). These abrupt events have a smooth and lagged counterpart in water stable isotopes from Antarctic ice cores. In this study we aim at depicting and understanding the circum-Antarctic expression of this millennial-scale variability. To illustrate the mechanisms potentially at work in the response of the southern high latitudes to an abrupt decrease of the AMOC, we first present results from experiments performed with the IPSL-CM4 atmosphere-ocean coupled model under glacial boundary conditions. When the AMOC is perturbed by imposing an additional freshwater flux in the North Atlantic, our model produces the classical bipolar seesaw mechanism generally invoked to explain the warming of the Southern Ocean/Antarctic region. However, this mechanism can be locally offset by faster atmospheric teleconnections originating from the tropics, even though the precise location of this fast response is not coherent among different climate models. Our model results are confronted with a synthesis of Antarctic records of ice core stable isotope and sea-salt sodium, including new data obtained on the TALDICE ice core. The IPSL-CM4 produces a dipole-like pattern around Antarctica, with warming in the Atlantic/Indian sectors contrasting with an unexpected cooling in the East-Pacific sector. The latter signal is not detected in our data synthesis. Both ice core data and simulations are consistent in depicting a more rapid response of the Atlantic sector compared to the Indian sector. This feature can be explained by the gradual impact of ocean transport on which faster atmospheric teleconnections are superimposed. Detailed investigations of the sequence of events between different proxies are conducted in three ice cores. Earlier shifts in deuterium excess and significant changes in sea-salt sodium fluxes in the most coastal sites (TALDICE and EDML) compared to EDC suggest reorganizations in local moisture sources, possibly linked with sea-ice cover. This study demonstrates the added value of circum-Antarctic ice core records to characterize the patterns and mechanisms of glacial climate variability


Publication status:
Authors: Buiron, D., Stenni, B., Chappellaz, J., Landais, A., Baumgartner, M., Bonazza, M., Capron, E. ORCIDORCID record for E. Capron, Frezzotti, M., Kageyama, M., Lemieux-Dudon, B., Masson-Delmotte, V., Parrenin, F., Schilt, A., Selmo, E., Severi, M., Swingedouw, D., Udisti, R.

On this site: Emilie Capron
1 January, 2012
Quaternary Science Reviews / 48
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