Enhanced climate instability in the North Atlantic and southern Europe during the Last Interglacial

P. C. Tzedakis*, R. N. Drysdale, V. Margari, L. C. Skinner, L. Menviel, R. H. Rhodes, A. S. Taschetto, D. A. Hodell, S. J. Crowhurst, J. C. Hellstrom, A. E. Fallick, J. O. Grimalt, J. F. McManus, B. Martrat, Z. Mokeddem, F. Parrenin, E. Regattieri, K. Roe, G. Zanchetta

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Considerable ambiguity remains over the extent and nature of millennial/centennial-scale climate instability during the Last Interglacial (LIG). Here we analyse marine and terrestrial proxies from a deep-sea sediment sequence on the Portuguese Margin and combine results with an intensively dated Italian speleothem record and climate-model experiments. The strongest expression of climate variability occurred during the transitions into and out of the LIG. Our records also document a series of multi-centennial intra-interglacial arid events in southern Europe, coherent with cold water-mass expansions in the North Atlantic. The spatial and temporal fingerprints of these changes indicate a reorganization of ocean surface circulation, consistent with low-intensity disruptions of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The amplitude of this LIG variability is greater than that observed in Holocene records. Episodic Greenland ice melt and runoff as a result of excess warmth may have contributed to AMOC weakening and increased climate instability throughout the LIG.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number4235
    Number of pages14
    JournalNature Communications
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018

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    Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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