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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-85
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Jul 2018

Research article | 13 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Connecting the Greenland ice-core and U / Th timescales via cosmogenic radionuclides: Testing the synchronicity of Dansgaard-Oeschger events

Florian Adolphi1,2, Christopher Bronk Ramsey3, Tobias Erhardt1, R. Lawrence Edwards4, Hai Cheng4,5, Chris S. M. Turney6, Alan Cooper7, Anders Svensson8, Sune O. Rasmussen8, Hubertus Fischer1, and Raimund Muscheler2 Florian Adolphi et al.
  • 1Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Quaternary Sciences, Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 22362 Lund, Sweden
  • 3Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
  • 4Insitute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiatong University, Xi’an 710049, China
  • 5Department of Erath Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55455, USA
  • 6Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre and ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
  • 7Australian Centre for Ancient DNA and ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
  • 8Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. During the last glacial period Northern Hemisphere climate was characterized by extreme and abrupt climate changes, so-called Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) events. Most clearly observed as temperature changes in Greenland ice-core records, their climatic imprint was geographically widespread. However, the temporal relation between DO-events in Greenland and other regions is uncertain due to the chronological uncertainties of each archive, limiting our ability to test hypotheses of synchronous change. On the contrary, the assumption of direct synchrony of climate changes forms the basis of many timescales. Here, we use cosmogenic radionuclides (10Be, 36Cl, 14C) to link Greenland ice-core records to U/Th-dated speleothems, quantify offsets between both timescales, and improve their absolute dating back to 45000 years ago. This approach allows us to test the assumption that DO-events occurred synchronously between Greenland ice-core and tropical speleothem records at unprecedented precision. We find that the onset of DO-events occurs within synchronization uncertainties in all investigated records. Importantly, we demonstrate that there remain local discrepancies in the temporal development of rapid climate change for specific events and speleothems. These may be either related to the location of proxy records relative to the shifting atmospheric fronts or to underestimated U/Th-dating uncertainties. Our study thus highlights the potential for misleading interpretations of the Earth system when applying the common practice of climate wiggle-matching.

Florian Adolphi et al.
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Short summary
The last glacial period was characterized by a number of rapid climate changes seen, for example, as abrupt warmings in Greenland and changes of the monsoon rainfall intensity. However, due to chronological uncertainties it is challenging to know how tightly coupled these changes were. Here we exploit cosmogenic signals, caused by changes in the Sun's and the Earth's magnetic fields, to link different climate archives and improve our understanding of the dynamics of abrupt climate change.
The last glacial period was characterized by a number of rapid climate changes seen, for...
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