Contrasting atmospheric and climate dynamics of the last-glacial and Holocene periods

Article metrics

Abstract

OUR present climate is relatively stable compared to that of the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago. Palaeoclimate records obtained from ice cores1,2 and deep-sea sediment cores3 for the last glacial period show abrupt temperature changes on timescales of a few hundred years, which have been attributed to cycles of ice build-up and release associated with large ice sheets (Dansgaard–Oeschger cycles and Heinrich events)3 and their coupling to ocean circulation4,5. But little is known about the dynamics of the atmosphere during the last glaciation. Ice sheets influence atmospheric circulation, and studies using general circulation models have suggested stormier, more variable atmospheric dynamics during the Last Glacial Maximum than today6–9. Here we report the results of an analysis of temporal trends over the past 91,000 years in the oxygen isotope signatures of a high-resolution ice-core record from Greenland1,2. This analysis provides direct evidence that atmospheric circulation during the last glaciation was more turbulent than it is today.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Dansgaard, W. et al. Nature 264, 218–220 (1993).

  2. 2

    GRIP members Nature 364, 203–207 (1993).

  3. 3

    Bond, G. et al. Nature 365, 143–147 (1993).

  4. 4

    Bond, G. C. & Lotti, R. Science 267, 1005–1010 (1995).

  5. 5

    Fronval, T. Jansen, E., Bloemendal, J. & Johnsen, S. Nature 374, 443–446 (1995).

  6. 6

    Manabe, S. & Broccoli, A. J. J. Geophys Res. 90, 2167–2190 (1985).

  7. 7

    Kutzbach, J. E. & Wright, H. E. Quat. Sci. Rev. 4, 147–187 (1985).

  8. 8

    Rind, D. J. Geophys Res. 92, 4241–4281 (1987).

  9. 9

    Valdes, P. & Hall, (ed. Peltier, W. R.) 517–522 (NATO ASI ser.I 12, Springer, Berlin, 1994).

  10. 10

    Dahl-Jensen, D. et al. (ed. Peltier, W. R.) 517–532 (NATO ASI ser.I 12, Springer, Berlin, 1993).

  11. 11

    Hasselman, K. Tellus 28, 473–485 (1976).

  12. 12

    Wu, X. & Libchaber, A. Phys. Rev. A40 6421–6430 (1989).

  13. 13

    Willebrand, J. J. phys. Oceanogr. 8, 1080–1094 (1978).

  14. 14

    Chave, A. D., Luther, D. S. & Filloux, J. H. J. geophys. Res. 96, 18361–18379 (1991).

  15. 15

    Johnson, N. L. & Kotz, S. Distributions in Statistics: Continuous Univariate distributions II (Wiley, New York, 1970).

  16. 16

    Kendall, M. et al. Kendall's Advanced Theory of Statistics (Griffin, London, 1987).

  17. 17

    Martinson, D. G. et al. Quat. Res. 27, 1–29 (1987).

  18. 18

    Kapsner, W. R., Alley, R. B., Shuman, C. A., Anandakrishnan, S. & Grootes, P. M. Nature 373, 52–54 (1995).

  19. 19

    Johnsen, S. J., Dansgaard, W. & White, J. W. C. Tellus B41, 452–468 (1992).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ditlevsen, P., Svensmark, H. & Johnsen, S. Contrasting atmospheric and climate dynamics of the last-glacial and Holocene periods. Nature 379, 810–812 (1996) doi:10.1038/379810a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.