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      Tropical climate and vegetation changes during Heinrich Event 1: a model-data comparison

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      Climate of the Past
      Copernicus GmbH

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          Abstract

          Abstract. Abrupt climate changes from 18 to 15 thousand years before present (kyr BP) associated with Heinrich Event 1 (HE1) had a strong impact on vegetation patterns not only at high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, but also in the tropical regions around the Atlantic Ocean. To gain a better understanding of the linkage between high and low latitudes, we used the University of Victoria (UVic) Earth System-Climate Model (ESCM) with dynamical vegetation and land surface components to simulate four scenarios of climate-vegetation interaction: the pre-industrial era, the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and a Heinrich-like event with two different climate backgrounds (interglacial and glacial). We calculated mega-biomes from the plant-functional types (PFTs) generated by the model to allow for a direct comparison between model results and palynological vegetation reconstructions. Our calculated mega-biomes for the pre-industrial period and the LGM corresponded well with biome reconstructions of the modern and LGM time slices, respectively, except that our pre-industrial simulation predicted the dominance of grassland in southern Europe and our LGM simulation resulted in more forest cover in tropical and sub-tropical South America. The HE1-like simulation with a glacial climate background produced sea-surface temperature patterns and enhanced inter-hemispheric thermal gradients in accordance with the "bipolar seesaw" hypothesis. We found that the cooling of the Northern Hemisphere caused a southward shift of those PFTs that are indicative of an increased desertification and a retreat of broadleaf forests in West Africa and northern South America. The mega-biomes from our HE1 simulation agreed well with paleovegetation data from tropical Africa and northern South America. Thus, according to our model-data comparison, the reconstructed vegetation changes for the tropical regions around the Atlantic Ocean were physically consistent with the remote effects of a Heinrich event under a glacial climate background.

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          The NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project

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            Collapse and rapid resumption of Atlantic meridional circulation linked to deglacial climate changes.

            The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation is widely believed to affect climate. Changes in ocean circulation have been inferred from records of the deep water chemical composition derived from sedimentary nutrient proxies, but their impact on climate is difficult to assess because such reconstructions provide insufficient constraints on the rate of overturning. Here we report measurements of 231Pa/230Th, a kinematic proxy for the meridional overturning circulation, in a sediment core from the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. We find that the meridional overturning was nearly, or completely, eliminated during the coldest deglacial interval in the North Atlantic region, beginning with the catastrophic iceberg discharge Heinrich event H1, 17,500 yr ago, and declined sharply but briefly into the Younger Dryas cold event, about 12,700 yr ago. Following these cold events, the 231Pa/230Th record indicates that rapid accelerations of the meridional overturning circulation were concurrent with the two strongest regional warming events during deglaciation. These results confirm the significance of variations in the rate of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation for abrupt climate changes.
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              Long-Term Variations of Daily Insolation and Quaternary Climatic Changes

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Climate of the Past
                Clim. Past
                Copernicus GmbH
                1814-9332
                2012
                January 04 2012
                : 8
                : 1
                : 37-57
                Article
                10.5194/cp-8-37-2012
                cf9bea2a-3c5c-44d7-b1d4-049c19ab2dbc
                © 2012

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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