Interglacial climates and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation : is there an Arctic controversy? .

Bauch, Henning A. (2013) Interglacial climates and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation : is there an Arctic controversy? . Quaternary Science Reviews, 63 . pp. 1-22. DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.11.023.

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Arctic palaeorecords are important to understand the “natural range“ of forcing and feedback mechanisms within the context of past and present climate change in this temperature-sensitive region. A wide array of methods and archives now provide a robust understanding of the Holocene climate evolution. By comparison rather little is still known about older interglacials, and in particular, on the effects of the northward propagation of heat transfer via the Atlantic meridional ocean circulation (AMOC) into the Arctic. Terrestrial records from this area often indicate a warmer and moister climate during past interglacials than in the Holocene implying a more vigorous AMOC activity. This is in conflict with marine data. Although recognized as very prominent interglacials in Antarctic ice cores, cross-latitudinal surface ocean temperature reconstructions show that little of the surface ocean warmth still identified in the Northeast Atlantic during older interglacial peaks (e.g., MIS5e, 9, 11) was further conveyed into the polar latitudes, and that each interglacial developed its own specific palaeoclimate features.

Interactive processes between water mass overturning and the hydrological system of the Arctic, and how both developed together out of a glacial period with its particular ice sheet configuration and relative sea-level history, determined the efficiency of an evolving interglacial AMOC. Because of that glacial terminations developed some very specific water mass characteristics, which also affected the climate evolution of the ensuing interglacial periods. Moreover, the observed contrasts in the Arctic-directed meridional ocean heat flux between past interglacials have implications for the palaeoclimatic evaluation of this polar region. Crucial environmental factors of the Arctic climate system, such as the highly dynamical interactions between deep water mass flow, surface ocean temperature/salinity, sea ice, and atmosphere, exert strong feedbacks on interglacial climate regionality that goes well beyond the Arctic. A sound interpretation of such processes from palaeoarchives requires a good understanding of the applied proxies. Fossils, in particular, are often key to the reconstruction of past conditions. But the tremendously flexible adaptation strategies of biota sometimes hampers further in-depth interpretations, especially when considering their palaeoenvironmental meaning in the context of rapid palaeoclimatic changes and long-term Pleistocene evolution.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000316043400001
Keywords: Arctic palaeoclimate; Warm interglaciations; Norwegian Sea; stable isotopes; Atlantic heat transfer; AMOC; subpolar North-Atlantic; Nordic Seas; last interglaciation; ice sheet;
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: Transdrift, Laptev Sea System
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 11:10
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 08:04

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