Effects of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) sea surface temperature and sea ice extent on the isotope–temperature slope at polar ice core sites

martin.werner [ at ] awi.de


table water isotopes in polar ice cores are widely used to reconstruct past temperature variations over several orbital climatic cycles. One way to calibrate the isotope– temperature relationship is to apply the present-day spatial relationship as a surrogate for the temporal one. However, this method leads to large uncertainties because several fac- tors like the sea surface conditions or the origin and transport of water vapor influence the isotope–temperature temporal slope. In this study, we investigate how the sea surface tem- perature (SST), the sea ice extent, and the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) affect these temporal slopes in Greenland and Antarctica for Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼ 21 000 years ago) to preindus- trial climate change. For that, we use the isotope-enabled at- mosphere climate model ECHAM6-wiso, forced with a set of sea surface boundary condition datasets based on recon- structions (e.g., GLOMAP) or MIROC 4m simulation out- puts. We found that the isotope–temperature temporal slopes in East Antarctic coastal areas are mainly controlled by the sea ice extent, while the sea surface temperature cooling af- fects the temporal slope values inland more. On the other hand, ECHAM6-wiso simulates the impact of sea ice extent on the EPICA Dome C (EDC) and Vostok sites through the contribution of water vapor from lower latitudes. Effects of sea surface boundary condition changes on modeled isotope-emperature temporal slopes are variable in West Antarctica. This is partly due to the transport of water vapor from the Southern Ocean to this area that can dampen the influence of local temperature on the changes in the isotopic compo- sition of precipitation and snow. In the Greenland area, the isotope–temperature temporal slopes are influenced by the sea surface temperatures near the coasts of the continent. The greater the LGM cooling off the coast of southeastern Green- land, the greater the transport of water vapor from the North Atlantic, and the larger the temporal slopes. The presence or absence of sea ice very near the coast has a large influ- ence in Baffin Bay and the Greenland Sea and influences the slopes at some inland ice core stations. The extent of the sea ice far south slightly influences the temporal slopes in Greenland through the transport of more depleted water vapor from lower latitudes to this area. The seasonal vari- ations of sea ice distribution, especially its retreat in sum- mer, influence the isotopic composition of the water vapor in this region and the modeled isotope–temperature tempo- ral slopes in the eastern part of Greenland. A stronger LGM AMOC decreases LGM-to-preindustrial isotopic anomalies in precipitation in Greenland, degrading the isotopic model– data agreement. The AMOC strength modifies the temporal slopes over inner Greenland slightly and by a little on the coasts along the Greenland Sea where the changes in surface temperature and sea ice distribution due to the AMOC strength mainly occur.

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DOI 10.5194/cp-19-1275-2023

Cite as
Cauquoin, A. , Abe-Ouchi, A. , Obase, T. , Chan, W. L. , Paul, A. and Werner, M. (2023): Effects of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) sea surface temperature and sea ice extent on the isotope–temperature slope at polar ice core sites , Climate of the Past, 19 (6), pp. 1275-1294 . doi: 10.5194/cp-19-1275-2023

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