Expression of the bipolar see-saw in Antarctic climate records during the last deglaciation


Ice-core records of climate from Greenland and Antarctica show asynchronous temperature variations on millennial timescales during the last glacial period1. The warming during the transition from glacial to interglacial conditions was markedly different between the hemispheres, a pattern attributed to the thermal bipolar see-saw2. However, a record from the Ross Sea sector of East Antarctica has been suggested to be synchronous with Northern Hemisphere climate change3. Here we present a temperature record from the Talos Dome ice core, also located in the Ross Sea sector. We compare our record with ice-core analyses from Greenland, based on methane synchronization4, and find clearly asynchronous temperature changes during the deglaciation. We also find distinct differences in Antarctic records, pointing to differences in the climate evolution of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic sectors of Antarctica. In the Atlantic sector, we find that the rate of warming slowed between 16,000 and 14,500 years ago, parallel with the deceleration of the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and with a slight cooling over Greenland. In addition, our chronology supports the hypothesis that the cooling of the Antarctic Cold Reversal is synchronous with the Bølling–Allerød warming in the northern hemisphere 14,700 years ago5.

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Figure 1: The TALDICE stable isotope profile (δ18O) versus depth.
Figure 2: Compilation of palaeoclimatic records from ice and marine cores to depict the bipolar sequence of events during the last termination.
Figure 3: Compilation of Southern Hemisphere palaeoclimatic records from ice and marine-sediment cores during the last deglaciation.


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We thank the logistic and drilling TALDICE team. We thank M. Mudelsee for discussion regarding the use of the Rampfit software ( The Talos Dome Ice Core Project (TALDICE), a joint European programme led by Italy, is funded by national contributions from Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The main logistical support was provided by Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide (PNRA) at Talos Dome. This is TALDICE publication no 9. A file containing the new ice core δ18O record from TALDICE can be downloaded from the website of the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology ( and from the TALDICE website (

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B.S., D.B., M. Baumgartner, M. Bonazza, S.F., L.G., V.M-D., B.M., A.S., S.S. and E.S. contributed to new TALDICE δ18O and CH4 measurements. D.B., S.A., E.B., M. Baroni, E. Capron, E. Castellano, B.D., A.L., B.L-D., C.M., M.M., B.N., F.P., J.R.P., C.R., M.S. and R.U. contributed to measurements and modelling used for TALDICE dating and ice flow description.

B.S. and M.F. prepared the figures and wrote most of the manuscript with the main contributions of D.B., J.C., B.D., V.M-D., J.J., B.L-D., B.N., J.R.P. and T.F.S. All authors worked on the comparison of the different records and their interpretations.

Correspondence to M. Frezzotti.

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Stenni, B., Buiron, D., Frezzotti, M. et al. Expression of the bipolar see-saw in Antarctic climate records during the last deglaciation. Nature Geosci 4, 46–49 (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1026

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