Abrupt cold events in the North Atlantic Ocean in a transient Holocene simulation.

Klus, Andrea, Prange, Matthias, Varma, Vidya , Tremblay, Louis Bruno and Schulz, Michael (2018) Abrupt cold events in the North Atlantic Ocean in a transient Holocene simulation. Open Access Climate of the Past, 14 (8). pp. 1165-1178. DOI 10.5194/cp-14-1165-2018.

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Abrupt cold events have been detected in numerous North Atlantic climate records from the Holocene. Several mechanisms have been discussed as possible triggers for these climate shifts persisting decades to centuries. Here, we describe two abrupt cold events that occurred during an orbitally forced transient Holocene simulation using the Community Climate System Model version 3. Both events occurred during the late Holocene (4305–4267 BP and 3046–3018 BP for event 1 and event 2, respectively). They were characterized by substantial surface cooling (−2.3 and −1.8 ∘C, respectively) and freshening (−0.6 and −0.5 PSU, respectively) as well as severe sea ice advance east of Newfoundland and south of Greenland, reaching as far as the Iceland Basin in the northeastern Atlantic at the climaxes of the cold events. Convection and deep-water formation in the northwestern Atlantic collapsed during the events, while the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was not substantially affected (weakening by only about 10 % and 5 %, respectively). The events were triggered by prolonged phases of a positive North Atlantic Oscillation that caused substantial changes in the subpolar ocean circulation and associated freshwater transports, resulting in a weakening of the subpolar gyre. Our results suggest a possible mechanism by which abrupt cold events in the North Atlantic region may be triggered by internal climate variability without the need of an external (e.g., solar or volcanic) forcing.

Document Type: Article
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Copernicus Publications (EGU)
Projects: PalMod in-kind
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2020 11:02
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 07:32
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/49463

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