Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-147
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
16 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).
Re-evaluating the link between the Laacher See volcanic eruption and the Younger Dryas
James U. L. Baldini, Richard J. Brown, and Natasha Mawdsley Department of Earth Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK
Abstract. The Younger Dryas is the most well-documented millennial-scale cooling event of the Quaternary, but the mechanisms responsible for its initiation remain elusive. Here we use a recently revised chronology for the GISP2 ice core ion dataset to identify a large volcanic sulphur spike coincident with both the sulphur-rich Laacher See volcanic eruption and the onset of Younger Dryas-related cooling (GS-1) in Greenland. Lake sediment and stalagmite records confirm that the eruption's timing was indistinguishable from the onset of cooling across the North Atlantic, but that it preceded westerly wind repositioning over central Europe by ~ 200 years. We suggest that the initial short-lived volcanic sulphate aerosol cooling was amplified by oceanic circulation shifts or sea ice expansion, gradually cooling the North Atlantic region and incrementally shifting the mid-latitude westerlies to the south. The aerosol-related cooling probably only lasted 2–4 years, and the majority of Younger Dryas-related cooling was instead due to this positive feedback, which was particularly effective during the intermediate ice volume conditions characteristic of ~ 13 ka BP. We conclude that the large and sulphur-rich Laacher See eruption should be considered a viable trigger for the Younger Dryas.

Citation: Baldini, J. U. L., Brown, R. J., and Mawdsley, N.: Re-evaluating the link between the Laacher See volcanic eruption and the Younger Dryas, Clim. Past Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-147, in review, 2017.
James U. L. Baldini et al.
James U. L. Baldini et al.
James U. L. Baldini et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 380 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
281 94 5 380 3 5

Views and downloads (calculated since 16 Nov 2017)

Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 16 Nov 2017)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 380 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)

Thereof 378 with geography defined and 2 with unknown origin.

Country # Views %
  • 1

Saved

Discussed

Latest update: 13 Dec 2017
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
The Younger Dryas occurred ~ 13 ka BP and is an iconic millennial-scale cold event. However, an unambiguous cause for the event is still outstanding. Here, we propose that the cold event was triggered by a large, sulphur-rich eruption of the Laacher See volcano (Germany). The eruption's direct (sulphate aerosol-induced) cooling effects lasted less than five years, but were amplified and extended by a positive feedback, leading to the long-term cooling characteristic of the event.
The Younger Dryas occurred ~ 13 ka BP and is an iconic millennial-scale cold event. However, an...
Share