Quaternary climate archives and proxy uncertainty

Christian.Stepanek [ at ] awi.de


Understanding the dynamics of warm climate states has gained increasing importance in the face of anthropogenic climate change. During the Last Interglacial (LIG, ∼128 to 116 ka), greenhouse gas concentrations and high latitude insolation were higher than pre-industrial levels, causing a high-latitude warming (Turney and Jones, 2010; Pfeiffer and Lohmann, 2016). We present a suite of climate model results (COSMOS, MPI-ESM, AWI-CM, EC-Earth) to evaluate the patterns and compare the simulations with the above-mentioned surface temperature reconstructions, seasonal archives (Felis et al., 2015; Brocas et al., 2017), and sea ice reconstructions (Stein et al., 2017). As a result of this modestly warmer climate, polar ice sheets were smaller and estimates report that the global mean sea level was 6-9 meters higher than today (Dutton et al., 2015). The sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice sheet is related to the local temperature around the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) (Sutter et al., 2016). Our ice sheet model experiments indicate that a 2-3°C local warming causes already a partially collapsed, irreversible WAIS. A pronounced subsurface oceanic warming can destabilize the WAIS, resulting in an oceanic gateway between the Ross and Weddell Seas. A sensitivity study using the new oceanic gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as a bathymetrical boundary condition indicates that this region would be covered by sea ice. Mixing due to sea-ice formation prevents a pronounced warming around the WAIS and would stabilize the WAIS. Thus, the disintegration of the WAIS is probably related to non-local influences like in Hellmer et al. (2017) where the shelves of West Antarctica are warmed from below by Circumpolar Deep Water.

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European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, 08 Apr 2018 - 13 Apr 2018, Vienna.
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Lohmann, G. , Wang, X. , Sutter, J. , Bagheri Dastgerdi, S. , Streffing, J. , Stepanek, C. , Hellmer, H. , Felis, T. , Gierz, P. , Brocas, W. and Stein, R. (2018): Quaternary climate archives and proxy uncertainty , European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018, Vienna, 8 April 2018 - 13 April 2018 .

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