AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on glacial terminations

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on January 9, 2010

This is a list of papers on the terminations of glacial periods, with emphasis on the papers dealing with the causes and the sequence of events when coming out of glacial period and entering interglacial period. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative. I thank John Cook for discussing this matter with me and pointing out several papers that appear in this list.

UPDATE (April 17, 2012): Shakun et al. (2012) added. Thanks to Barry for pointing it out.

Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation – Shakun et al. (2012) “The covariation of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and temperature in Antarctic ice-core records suggests a close link between CO2 and climate during the Pleistocene ice ages. The role and relative importance of CO2 in producing these climate changes remains unclear, however, in part because the ice-core deuterium record reflects local rather than global temperature. Here we construct a record of global surface temperature from 80 proxy records and show that temperature is correlated with and generally lags CO2 during the last (that is, the most recent) deglaciation. Differences between the respective temperature changes of the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere parallel variations in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation recorded in marine sediments. These observations, together with transient global climate model simulations, support the conclusion that an antiphased hemispheric temperature response to ocean circulation changes superimposed on globally in-phase warming driven by increasing CO2 concentrations is an explanation for much of the temperature change at the end of the most recent ice age.” [Full text, Supplementary information]

Feedback between deglaciation, volcanism, and atmospheric CO2 – Huybers & Langmuir (2009) “An evaluation of the historical record of volcanic eruptions shows that subaerial volcanism increases globally by two to six times above background levels between 12 ka and 7 ka, during the last deglaciation. Increased volcanism occurs in deglaciating regions. … CO2 output from the increased subaerial volcanism appears large enough to influence glacial/interglacial CO2 variations. … After accounting for equilibration with the ocean, this additional CO2 flux is consistent in timing and magnitude with ice core observations of a 40 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration during the second half of the last deglaciation. … If such a large volcanic output of CO2 occurs, then volcanism forges a positive feedback between glacial variability and atmospheric CO2 concentrations: deglaciation increases volcanic eruptions, raises atmospheric CO2, and causes more deglaciation. Such a positive feedback may contribute to the rapid passage from glacial to interglacial periods.” [Full text]

The Roles of CO2 and Orbital Forcing in Driving Southern Hemispheric Temperature Variations during the Last 21 000 Yr – Timmermann et al. (2009) “Transient climate model simulations covering the last 21 000 yr reveal that orbitally driven insolation changes in the Southern Hemisphere, combined with a rise in atmospheric pCO2, were sufficient to jump-start the deglacial warming around Antarctica without direct Northern Hemispheric triggers. Analyses of sensitivity experiments forced with only one external forcing component (greenhouse gases, ice-sheet forcing, or orbital forcing) demonstrate that austral spring insolation changes triggered an early retreat of Southern Ocean sea ice starting around 19–18 ka BP. The associated sea ice–albedo feedback and the subsequent increase of atmospheric CO2 concentrations helped to further accelerate the deglacial warming in the Southern Hemisphere.” [Full text]

Modulation of the bipolar seesaw in the Southeast Pacific during Termination 1 – Lamy et al. (2007) “Our study is based on a well-dated and high-resolution alkenone-based sea surface temperature (SST) record from the SE-Pacific off southern Chile (Ocean Drilling Project Site 1233) showing that deglacial warming at the northern margin of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current system (ACC) began shortly after 19,000 years BP (19 kyr BP). The timing is largely consistent with Antarctic ice-core records but the initial warming in the SE-Pacific is more abrupt suggesting a direct and immediate response to the slowdown of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation through the bipolar seesaw mechanism. … In addition, modelling results suggest that insolation changes and the deglacial CO2 rise induced a substantial SST increase at our site location but with a gradual warming structure. The similarity of the two-step rise in our proxy SSTs and CO2 over T1 strongly demands for a forcing mechanism influencing both, temperature and CO2.” [Full text]

Southern Hemisphere and Deep-Sea Warming Led Deglacial Atmospheric CO2 Rise and Tropical Warming – Stott et al. (2007) “We determined the chronology of high- and low-latitude climate change at the last glacial termination by radiocarbon dating benthic and planktonic foraminiferal stable isotope and magnesium/calcium records from a marine core collected in the western tropical Pacific. Deep-sea temperatures warmed by 2°C between 19 and 17 thousand years before the present (ky B.P.), leading the rise in atmospheric CO2 and tropical–surface-ocean warming by 1000 years. The cause of this deglacial deep-water warming does not lie within the tropics, nor can its early onset between 19 and 17 ky B.P. be attributed to CO2 forcing. Increasing austral-spring insolation combined with sea-ice albedo feedbacks appear to be the key factors responsible for this warming.” [Full text]

Integration of ice-core, marine and terrestrial records for the Australian Last Glacial Maximum and Termination: a contribution from the OZ INTIMATE group – Turney et al. (2006) “Here we present climatic and environmental reconstructions from across Australia, a key region of the Southern Hemisphere because of the range of environments it covers and the potentially important role regional atmospheric and oceanic controls play in global climate change. We identify a general scheme of events for the end of the last glacial period and early Holocene but a detailed reconstruction proved problematic.” [Full text]

High resolution characterization of the Asian Monsoon between 146,000 and 99,000 years B.P. from Dongge Cave, China and global correlation of events surrounding Termination II – Kelly et al. (2006) “We have obtained higher resolution data in the interval between 99 and 146 ka B.P., providing a detailed account of δ18O variations over most of MIS 5 and the latter portion of MIS 6. … The most abrupt portion of the shift in δ18O values ( 1.1‰) marking the end of the Last Interglacial Asian Monsoon occurred in 120 years, the midpoint of which is 120.7 ± 1.0 ka B.P. … We demonstrate that monsoon intensity correlates well with atmospheric CH4 concentrations over the transition into the Bølling-Allerød, the Bølling-Allerød, and the Younger Dryas. In addition, we correlate an abrupt jump in CH4 concentration with Asian Monsoon Termination II. On the basis of this correlation, we conclude that the rise in atmospheric CO2, Antarctic warming, and the gradual portion of the rise in CH4 around Termination II occur within our “Weak Monsoon Interval” (WMI), an extended interval of heavy δ18O between 135.5 ± 1.0 and 129.0 ± 1.0 ka B.P., prior to Asian Monsoon Termination II and Northern Hemisphere warming. Antarctic warming over the millennia immediately preceding abrupt northern warming may result from the “bipolar seesaw” mechanism. As such warming (albeit to a smaller extent) also preceded Asian Monsoon Termination I, the “bipolar seesaw” mechanism may play a critical role in glacial terminations.”

Chronology reconstruction for the disturbed bottom section of the GISP2 and the GRIP ice cores: Implications for Termination II in Greenland – Suwa et al. (2006) “We have reconstructed chronology for the disturbed bottom parts of the GRIP and GISP2 ice cores using the combined paleoatmospheric records of CH4 concentration and δ18Oatm in the trapped gases. … The climate history we derive suggests that the last interglacial at Summit, Greenland, around 127 ka was slightly warmer than the current interglacial period. Reduction of various ion concentrations in ice and thickening of the ice sheet during Termination II was similar to that in Termination I.” [Full text]

Quantitative interpretation of atmospheric carbon records over the last glacial termination – Köhler et al. (2005) “Forcing the coupled ocean-atmosphere-biosphere box model of the global carbon cycle BICYCLE with proxy data over the last glacial termination, we are able to quantitatively reproduce transient variations in pCO2 and its isotopic signatures (δ13C, Δ14C) observed in natural climate archives. … The processes considered here ranked by their contribution to the glacial/interglacial rise in pCO2 in decreasing order are: the rise in Southern Ocean vertical mixing rates (>30 ppmv), decreases in alkalinity and carbon inventories (>30 ppmv), the reduction of the biological pump (∼20 ppmv), the rise in ocean temperatures (15–20 ppmv), the resumption of ocean circulation (15–20 ppmv), and coral reef growth (<5 ppmv). The regrowth of the terrestrial biosphere, sea level rise and the increase in gas exchange through reduced sea ice cover operate in the opposite direction, decreasing pCO2 during Termination I by ∼30 ppmv. According to our model the sequence of events during Termination I might have been the following: a reduction of aeolian iron fertilization in the Southern Ocean together with a breakdown in Southern Ocean stratification, the latter caused by rapid sea ice retreat, trigger the onset of the pCO2 increase.” [Full text]

Deep Pacific CaCO3 compensation and glacial–interglacial atmospheric CO2 – Marchitto et al. (2005) “Here we reconstruct deep equatorial Pacific CO32− over the last glacial–interglacial cycle using benthic foraminiferal Zn/Ca, which is strongly affected by saturation state during calcite precipitation. Our data are in agreement with the CaCO3 compensation theory, including glacial CO32− concentrations similar to (or slightly lower than) today, and a Termination I CO32− peak of 25–30 μmol kg−1. The deglacial CO32− rise precedes ice sheet melting, consistent with the timing of the atmospheric CO2 rise. A later portion of the peak could reflect removal of CO2 from the atmosphere–ocean system due to boreal forest regrowth. CaCO3 compensation alone may explain more than one third of the atmospheric CO2 lowering during glacial times.” [Full text]

Climate evolution at the last deglaciation: the role of the Southern Ocean – Bianchi & Gersonde (2004) “Two sediment sequences recovered close to, and south of, the present Polar Front (50°, 53°S) in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean were analysed in order to evaluate the environmental evolution of the Southern Ocean surface over the last deglaciation and the Holocene. … Time correspondence of Southern Ocean warming and Heinrich event 1 in the North Atlantic is compatible with the transmission of the climate signal from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere through the “bipolar seesaw.” Our data support modeling results suggesting that the Northern Hemisphere Bølling warming and turn-on of the North Atlantic Deep Water formation are triggered by gradual warming and sea-ice retreat in the Southern Ocean. Meltwater shedding into the Southern Ocean associated with the ACR may maintain Northern Hemisphere warming during the Allerød. The development of sea surface warming and sea-ice retreat is compatible with a Southern Ocean control on the atmospheric CO2 increase during the deglaciation.”

Timing of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature Changes Across Termination III – Caillon et al. (2003) “The analysis of air bubbles from ice cores has yielded a precise record of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, but the timing of changes in these gases with respect to temperature is not accurately known because of uncertainty in the gas age-ice age difference. We have measured the isotopic composition of argon in air bubbles in the Vostok core during Termination III (~240,000 years before the present). This record most likely reflects the temperature and accumulation change, although the mechanism remains unclear. The sequence of events during Termination III suggests that the CO2 increase lagged Antarctic deglacial warming by 800 ± 200 years and preceded the Northern Hemisphere deglaciation.”

Sequence of events during the last deglaciation in Southern Ocean sediments and Antarctic ice cores – Shemesh et al. (2002) “The last glacial to interglacial transition was studied using down core records of stable isotopes in diatoms and foraminifera as well as surface water temperature, sea ice extent, and ice-rafted debris (IRD) concentrations from a piston core retrieved from the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. … our data suggest that sea ice and nutrient changes at about 19 ka B.P. lead the increase in atmospheric pCO2 by approximately 2000 years. Our diatom-based sea ice record is in phase with the sodium record of the Vostok ice core, which is related to sea ice cover and similarly leads the increase in atmospheric CO2. If gas exchange played a major role in determining glacial to interglacial CO2 variations, then a delay mechanism of a few thousand years is needed to explain the observed sequence of events. Otherwise, the main cause of atmospheric pCO2 change must be sought elsewhere, rather than in the Southern Ocean.” [online PDF exists but seems to be defective, at least for me]

The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka – Mudelsee (2001) “Comparing the CO2 record with other proxy variables from the Vostok ice core and stacked marine oxygen isotope records, allows the phase relations among these variables, over the last four G–IG cycles, to be estimated. Lagged, generalized least-squares regression provides an efficient and precise technique for this estimation. Bootstrap resampling allows account to be taken of measurement and timescale errors. Over the full 420 ka of the Vostok record, CO2 variations lag behind atmospheric temperature changes in the Southern Hemisphere by 1.3±1.0 ka, and lead over global ice-volume variations by 2.7±1.3 ka. However, significant short-term changes in the lag of CO2 relative to temperature, subsequent to Terminations II and III, are also detected.” [Full text]

Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination – Monnin et al. (2001) “A record of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene, obtained from the Dome Concordia, Antarctica, ice core, reveals that an increase of 76 parts per million by volume occurred over a period of 6000 years in four clearly distinguishable intervals. The close correlation between CO2 concentration and Antarctic temperature indicates that the Southern Ocean played an important role in causing the CO2 increase. However, the similarity of changes in CO2 concentration and variations of atmospheric methane concentration suggests that processes in the tropics and in the Northern Hemisphere, where the main sources for methane are located, also had substantial effects on atmospheric CO2 concentrations.”

Evidence against dust-mediated control of glacial–interglacial changes in atmospheric CO2 – Maher & Dennis (2001) “Here we examine the timing of dust fluxes to the North Atlantic Ocean, in relation to climate records from the Vostok ice core in Antarctica around the time of the penultimate deglaciation (about 130 kyr ago). Two main dust peaks occurred 155 kyr and 130 kyr ago, but neither was associated with the CO2 rise recorded in the Vostok ice core. This mismatch, together with the low dust flux supplied to the Southern Ocean, suggests that dust-mediated iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean did not significantly influence atmospheric CO2 at the termination of the penultimate glaciation.” [Full text]

The structure of Termination II (penultimate deglaciation and Eemian) in the North Atlantic – Lototskaya & Ganssen (1999) “A study of the 140–100 ka interval in core T90-9P from the North Atlantic (45° N, 25° W), based on analysis of oxygen and carbon isotope records from planktonic and benthonic foraminifera, and from the bulk sediment fine fraction facilitates a detailed paleoceanographic reconstruction of the penultimate deglaciation (Termination II), and of the Eemian interglacial (δ18O stage 5e). The first step of Termination II was characterised by low productivity and a mixed water column, which was a remnant of glacial conditions. A 3 ka period of relatively stable conditions, with a stratified water column (‘Termination II pause’), occurred half-way through Termination II, and preceeded a second and more rapid climatic shift. The end of the deglaciation (Eemian maximum, i.e. isotopic event 5.53) initiated the establishment of strong, seasonal, water column stratification. North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) production remained low during the complete glacial–interglacial transition. After the Eemian maximum, NADW prodution was restored, and bottom waters remained quite stable during the course of the Eemian, while surface waters gradually cooled in the second half of the stage. A short surface water cooling event accompanied by a reduced seasonal water column stratification and nutrient instability occurred at approximately 117 ka BP.” [Full text]

Dual modes of the carbon cycle since the Last Glacial Maximum – Smith et al. (1999) “Here we present the stable-carbon-isotope composition (13CO2) of CO2 extracted from air trapped in ice at Taylor Dome, Antarctica, from the Last Glacial Maximum to the onset of Holocene times. The global carbon cycle is shown to have operated in two distinct primary modes on the timescale of thousands of years, one when climate was changing relatively slowly and another when warming was rapid, each with a characteristic average stable-carbon-isotope composition of the net CO2 exchanged by the atmosphere with the land and oceans.” [Full text]

Variation of atmospheric C02 by ventilation of the ocean’s deepest water – Toggweiler (1999) “A new box model for glacial-interglacial changes in atmospheric CO2 produces lower levels of atmospheric CO2 without changes in biological production or nutirent chemistry. … Atmospheric CO2 is reduced 21 ppm by reduced ventilation of the deep water below the divide. A further reduction of 36 ppm is due to CaCO3 compensation in response to lower CO3= below the divide. Colder surface temperatures account for an additional 23 ppm of CO2 reduction.” [Full text]

The Sequence of Events Surrounding Termination II and their Implications for the Cause of Glacial-Interglacial CO2 Changes – Broecker & Henderson (1998) “Events surrounding Termination II, as preserved in the Vostok ice core, provide a number of clues about the mechanisms controlling glacial to interglacial climate change. Antarctic temperature and the atmosphere’s CO2 content increased together over a period of ∼8000 years. This increase is bounded by a drop in dust flux at its onset and by a drop in the δ18O of trapped air at its finish. A similar lag between dust flux and foraminiferal δ18O is seen in a Southern Ocean marine record, suggesting that the δ18O in air trapped in Vostok ice is a valid proxy for ice volume. The synchronous change of atmospheric CO2 and southern hemisphere temperature thus preceded the melting of the northern hemisphere ice sheets.” [Full text]

Closely related

Papers on GHG role in historical climate changes

2 Responses to “Papers on glacial terminations”

  1. barry said

    This one could go here or “Papers on GHG role in historical climate changes”

    Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation

    Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, Feng He, Shaun A. Marcott, Alan C. Mix, Zhengyu Liu, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Andreas Schmittner & Edouard Bard

    The covariation of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and temperature in Antarctic ice-core records suggests a close link between CO2 and climate during the Pleistocene ice ages. The role and relative importance of CO2 in producing these climate changes remains unclear, however, in part because the ice-core deuterium record reflects local rather than global temperature. Here we construct a record of global surface temperature from 80 proxy records and show that temperature is correlated with and generally lags CO2 during the last (that is, the most recent) deglaciation. Differences between the respective temperature changes of the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere parallel variations in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation recorded in marine sediments. These observations, together with transient global climate model simulations, support the conclusion that an antiphased hemispheric temperature response to ocean circulation changes superimposed on globally in-phase warming driven by increasing CO2 concentrations is an explanation for much of the temperature change at the end of the most recent ice age.

    Link at Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7392/full/nature10915.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20120405

    Full version: http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/shakun-et-al.pdf

    Supplementary information: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7392/extref/nature10915-s1.pdf

    (Do you double up papers in the lists, Ari? There are a few that cover more than one topic here)

  2. Ari Jokimäki said

    I added the paper here, thanks.🙂

    I linked this list to the other list because this one has many relevant papers to that one. It’s easier this way than to have double entries. I think there are few papers that are in two or more lists.

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