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

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          Abstract

          The covariation of carbon dioxide (CO(2)) concentration and temperature in Antarctic ice-core records suggests a close link between CO(2) and climate during the Pleistocene ice ages. The role and relative importance of CO(2) 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 CO(2) 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 CO(2) concentrations is an explanation for much of the temperature change at the end of the most recent ice age.

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          Most cited references53

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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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            High-resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000-800,000 years before present.

            Changes in past atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations can be determined by measuring the composition of air trapped in ice cores from Antarctica. So far, the Antarctic Vostok and EPICA Dome C ice cores have provided a composite record of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past 650,000 years. Here we present results of the lowest 200 m of the Dome C ice core, extending the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration by two complete glacial cycles to 800,000 yr before present. From previously published data and the present work, we find that atmospheric carbon dioxide is strongly correlated with Antarctic temperature throughout eight glacial cycles but with significantly lower concentrations between 650,000 and 750,000 yr before present. Carbon dioxide levels are below 180 parts per million by volume (p.p.m.v.) for a period of 3,000 yr during Marine Isotope Stage 16, possibly reflecting more pronounced oceanic carbon storage. We report the lowest carbon dioxide concentration measured in an ice core, which extends the pre-industrial range of carbon dioxide concentrations during the late Quaternary by about 10 p.p.m.v. to 172-300 p.p.m.v.
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              A long-term numerical solution for the insolation quantities of the Earth

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                April 2012
                April 4 2012
                April 2012
                : 484
                : 7392
                : 49-54
                Article
                10.1038/nature10915
                22481357
                d86dfbc6-a849-4b33-8a05-b2bfbc5d37f1
                © 2012

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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