The anatomy of past abrupt warmings recorded in Greenland ice

E. Capron, S. O. Rasmussen, T. J. Popp, T. Erhardt, H. Fischer, A. Landais, J. B. Pedro, G. Vettoretti, A. Grinsted, V. Gkinis, B. Vaughn, A. Svensson, B. M. Vinther & J. W. C. White

Data availability and temporal resolution make it challenging to unravel the anatomy(duration and temporal phasing) of the Last Glacial abrupt climate changes. Here, we address these limitations by investigating the anatomy of abrupt changes using sub-decadal-scale records from Greenland ice cores. We highlight the absence of a systematic pattern in the anatomy of abrupt changes as recorded in different ice parameters. This diversity in the sequence of changes seen in ice-core data is also observed in climate parameters derived from numerical simulations which exhibit self-sustained abrupt variability arising from internal atmosphere-ice-ocean interactions. Our analysis of two ice cores shows that the diversity of abrupt warming transitions represents variability inherent to the climate system and not archive-specific noise. Our results hint that during these abrupt events, it may not be possible to infer statistically-robust leads and lags between the different components of the climate system because of their tight coupling.

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Published in Nature April 8, 2021

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