Global ocean heat content in the Last Interglacial

Shackleton, S. and Baggenstos, D. and Menking, J. A. and Dyonisius, M. N. and Bereiter, B. and Bauska, T. K. and Rhodes, R. H. and Brook, E. J. and Petrenko, V. V. and McConnell, J. R. and Kellerhals, T. and Häberli, M. and Schmitt, J. and Fischer, H. and Severinghaus, J. P. (2020) Global ocean heat content in the Last Interglacial. Nature Geoscience, 13 (1). pp. 77-81. ISSN 1752-0894 DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0498-0

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0498-0

Abstract

The Last Interglacial (129–116 thousand years ago (ka)) represents one of the warmest climate intervals of the past 800,000 years and the most recent time when sea level was metres higher than today. However, the timing and magnitude of the peak warmth varies between reconstructions, and the relative importance of individual sources that contribute to the elevated sea level (mass gain versus seawater expansion) during the Last Interglacial remains uncertain. Here we present the first mean ocean temperature record for this interval from noble gas measurements in ice cores and constrain the thermal expansion contribution to sea level. Mean ocean temperature reached its maximum value of 1.1 ± 0.3 °C warmer-than-modern values at the end of the penultimate deglaciation at 129 ka, which resulted in 0.7 ± 0.3 m of thermosteric sea-level rise relative to present level. However, this maximum in ocean heat content was a transient feature; mean ocean temperature decreased in the first several thousand years of the interglacial and achieved a stable, comparable-to-modern value by ~127 ka. The synchroneity of the peak in mean ocean temperature with proxy records of abrupt transitions in the oceanic and atmospheric circulation suggests that the mean ocean temperature maximum is related to the accumulation of heat in the ocean interior during the preceding period of reduced overturning circulation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2019AREP, IA76
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
08 - Green Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Geoscience
Volume: 13
Page Range: pp. 77-81
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0498-0
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2020 12:13
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2020 00:04
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/4612

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