An ice–climate oscillatory framework for Dansgaard–Oeschger cycles

Menviel, Laurie C. and Skinner, Luke C. and Tarasov, Lev and Tzedakis, Polychronis C. (2020) An ice–climate oscillatory framework for Dansgaard–Oeschger cycles. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. ISSN 2662-138X DOI

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Intermediate glacial states were characterized by large temperature changes in Greenland and the North Atlantic, referred to as Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) variability, with some transitions occurring over a few decades. D–O variability included changes in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), temperature changes of opposite sign and asynchronous timing in each hemisphere, shifts in the mean position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and variations in atmospheric CO2. Palaeorecords and numerical studies indicate that the AMOC, with a tight coupling to Nordic Seas sea ice, is central to D–O variability, yet, a complete theory remains elusive. In this Review, we synthesize the climatic expression and processes proposed to explain D–O cyclicity. What emerges is an oscillatory framework of the AMOC–sea-ice system, arising through feedbacks involving the atmosphere, cryosphere and the Earth’s biogeochemical system. Palaeoclimate observations indicate that the AMOC might be more sensitive to perturbations than climate models currently suggest. Tighter constraints on AMOC stability are, thus, needed to project AMOC changes over the coming century as a response to anthropogenic carbon emissions. Progress can be achieved by additional observational constraints and numerical simulations performed with coupled climate–ice-sheet models.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2020AREP, IA76
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Reviews Earth & Environment
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 00:37
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2020 00:37

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