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On the enigmatic similarity in Greenland delta O-18 between the Oldest and Younger Dryas
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Number of Authors: 22015 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 42, no 23Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The last deglaciation (20.0-10.0 kyr B.P.) was punctuated by two major cooling events affecting the Northern Hemisphere: the Oldest Dryas (OD; 18.0-14.7 kyr B.P.) and the Younger Dryas (YD; 12.8-11.5 kyr B.P.). Greenland ice core delta O-18 temperature reconstructions suggest that the YD was as cold as the OD, despite a 50 ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2, while modeling studies suggest that the YD was approximately 4-5 degrees C warmer than the OD. This discrepancy has been surmised to result from changes in the origin of the water vapor delivered to Greenland; however, this hypothesis has not been hitherto tested. Here we use an atmospheric circulation model with an embedded moisture-tracing module to investigate atmospheric processes that may have been responsible for the similar delta O-18 values during the OD and YD. Our results show that the summer-to-winter precipitation ratio over central Greenland in the OD is twice as high as in the YD experiment, which shifts the delta O-18 signal toward warmer (summer) temperatures (enriched delta O-18 values and it accounts for similar to 45% of the expected YD-OD delta O-18 difference). A change in the inversion (cloud) temperature relationship between the two climate states further contributes (similar to 20%) to altering the delta O-18-temperature-relation model. Our experiments also show a 7% decrease of delta O-18-depleted precipitation from distant regions (e.g., the Pacific Ocean) in the OD, hence further contributing (15-20%) in masking the actual temperature difference. All together, these changes provide a physical explanation for the ostensible similarity in the ice core delta O-18 temperature reconstructions in Greenland during OD and YD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 42, no 23
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126787DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066042ISI: 000368343900046OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-126787DiVA, id: diva2:943895
Available from: 2016-06-28 Created: 2016-02-15 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved

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