AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on 1500 year climate cycle

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on August 29, 2009

This list contains papers on the 1500 year cycle (the Dansgaard-Oeschger events and Bond events) that is evident in past climate records, especially in Northern Atlantic. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.

UPDATE (January 7, 2010): Alley (2007) added.

On the Stochastic Nature of the Rapid Climate Shifts during the Last Ice Age – Ditlevsen & Ditlevsen (2009) “This observation is an important piece in the climate puzzle, because the fact that the climate is a no-memory process indicates that the transitions are noise induced and the mean residence time in one state indicates how stable that climate state is to perturbations. The possibility of a hidden periodic driver is also investigated. The existence of such a driver cannot be ruled out by the relatively sparse data series (containing only 21 onsets). However, because the record is fitted just as well by the much simpler random model, this should be preferred from the point of view of simplicity.” [Link to PDF]

Conceptual model for millennial climate variability: a possible combined solar-thermohaline circulation origin for the ~1,500-year cycle – Dima & Lohmann (2009) “In a conceptual model approach, we show that this millennial variability can originate from rectification of an external (solar) forcing, and suggest that the thermohaline circulation, through a threshold response, could be the rectifier. We argue that internal threshold response of the thermohaline circulation (THC) to solar forcing is more likely to produce the observed DO cycles than amplification of weak direct ~1,500-year forcing of unknown origin, by THC.” [Link to PDF]

Wally Was Right: Predictive Ability of the North Atlantic “Conveyor Belt” Hypothesis for Abrupt Climate Change – Alley (2007) A review paper. “Linked, abrupt changes of North Atlantic deep water formation, North Atlantic sea ice extent, and widespread climate occurred repeatedly during the last ice age cycle and beyond in response to changing freshwater fluxes and perhaps other causes. This paradigm, developed and championed especially by W.S. Broecker, has repeatedly proven to be successfully predictive as well as explanatory with high confidence. Much work remains to fully understand what happened and to assess possible implications for the future, but the foundations for this work are remarkably solid.” [Link to PDF]

The origin of the 1500-year climate cycles in Holocene North-Atlantic records – Debret et al. (2007) “These results reveal that the 1500-year climate cycles are linked with the oceanic circulation and not with variations in solar output as previously argued (Bond et al., 2001). In this light, previously studied marine sediment (Bianchi and McCave, 1999; Chapman and Shackleton, 2000; Giraudeau et al., 2000), ice core (O’Brien et al., 1995; Vonmoos et al., 2006) and dust records (Jackson et al., 2005) can be seen to contain the evidence of combined forcing mechanisms, whose relative influences varied during the course of the Holocene. Circum-Atlantic climate records cannot be explained exclusively by solar forcing, but require changes in ocean circulation, as suggested previously (Broecker et al., 2001; McManus et al., 1999).” [Link to PDF]

Possible solar origin of the 1,470-year glacial climate cycle demonstrated in a coupled model – Braun et al. (2005) “Here we show that an intermediate-complexity climate model with glacial climate conditions simulates rapid climate shifts similar to the Dansgaard–Oeschger events with a spacing of 1,470 years when forced by periodic freshwater input into the North Atlantic Ocean in cycles of ~87 and ~210 years. We attribute the robust 1,470-year response time to the superposition of the two shorter cycles, together with strongly nonlinear dynamics and the long characteristic timescale of the thermohaline circulation.” [Link to PDF]

Timing of abrupt climate change: A precise clock – Rahmstorf (2003) “Many paleoclimatic data reveal a ∼1,500 year cyclicity of unknown origin. A crucial question is how stable and regular this cycle is. An analysis of the GISP2 ice core record from Greenland reveals that abrupt climate events appear to be paced by a 1,470-year cycle with a period that is probably stable to within a few percent; with 95% confidence the period is maintained to better than 12% over at least 23 cycles. This highly precise clock points to an origin outside the Earth system; oscillatory modes within the Earth system can be expected to be far more irregular in period.” [Link to PDF]

Widespread evidence of 1500 yr climate variability in North America during the past 14 000 yr – Viau et al. (2002) “Times of major transitions identified in pollen records occurred at 600, 1650, 2850, 4030, 6700, 8100, 10 190, 12 900, and 13 800 cal yr B.P., consistent with ice and marine records. We suggest that North Atlantic millennial-scale climate variability is associated with rearrangements of the atmospheric circulation with far-reaching influences on the climate.”

Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate During the Holocene – Bond et al. (2001) “A solar forcing mechanism therefore may underlie at least the Holocene segment of the North Atlantic’s “1500-year” cycle.” [Link to PDF]

A Pervasive Millennial-Scale Cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and Glacial Climates – Bond et al. (1997) “Evidence from North Atlantic deep sea cores reveals that abrupt shifts punctuated what is conventionally thought to have been a relatively stable Holocene climate. During each of these episodes, cool, ice-bearing waters from north of Iceland were advected as far south as the latitude of Britain. At about the same times, the atmospheric circulation above Greenland changed abruptly. Pacings of the Holocene events and of abrupt climate shifts during the last glaciation are statistically the same; together, they make up a series of climate shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 ± 500 years.” [Link to PDF]

Iceberg Discharges into the North Atlantic on Millennial Time Scales During the Last Glaciation – Bond & Lotti (1995) “High-resolution studies of North Atlantic deep sea cores demonstrate that prominent increases in iceberg calving recurred at intervals of 2000 to 3000 years, much more frequently than the 7000-to 10,000-year pacing of massive ice discharges associated with Heinrich events. The calving cycles correlate with warm-cold oscillations, called Dansgaard-Oeschger events, in Greenland ice cores.”

Evidence for general instability of past climate from a 250-kyr ice-core record – Dansgaard et al. (1993) “Recent results from two ice cores drilled in central Greenland have revealed large, abrupt climate changes of at least regional extent during the late stages of the last glaciation, suggesting that climate in the North Atlantic region is able to reorganize itself rapidly, perhaps even within a few decades.”

Holocene climatic variations—Their pattern and possible cause – Denton & Karlén (1973) Apparently the first paper that noted this cycle, although according to their abstract, they identify a 2500 year cycle. “These results suggest that a recurring pattern of minor climatic variations, with a dominant overprint of cold intervals peaking about each 2500 yr, was superimposed on long-term Holocene and Late-Wisconsin climatic trends.”

Closely related

CO2 threshold for millennial-scale oscillations in the climate system: implications for global warming scenarios – Meissner et al. (2008) “The model shows two very different responses: for CO2 concentrations of 400 ppm or lower, the system evolves into an equilibrium state. For CO2 concentrations of 440 ppm or higher, the system starts oscillating between a state with vigorous deep water formation in the Southern Ocean and a state with no deep water formation in the Southern Ocean. … If the UVic ESCM captures a mechanism that is present and important in the real climate system, the consequences would comprise a rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of several tens of ppm, an increase in global surface temperature of the order of 1–2°C, local temperature changes of the order of 6°C and a profound change in ocean stratification, deep water temperature and sea ice cover.” [Link to PDF]


4 Responses to “Papers on 1500 year climate cycle”

  1. Ari Jokimäki said

    I added Alley (2007).

  2. aranoff said

    Is there any proof of a 15 century cycle in the Southern Hemisphere? Here is what someone said to me:
    “The 1500-year cycle in question has been observed … as a warming in the northern hemisphere matched at precisely the same time by a cooling in the southern hemisphere. So it’s a heat distribution issue: a global temperature ‘see-saw’ effect. The total heat in the global system remains constant.”

  3. Ari Jokimäki said

    Yes, there seems to be some evidence for it. Here is for example one paper on it (Blunier et al. 2001):

    Click to access Blunier_etal_Science01.pdf

    Edited to add: Here’s another, very recent one (only abstract is available for this):

  4. aranoff said

    This means, I assume, that the see-saw effect does not mean that the total heat in the global system remains constant.

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