Tephra constraints on Rapid Climate Events (TRACE): precise correlation of marine and ice-core records during the last glacial period in the North Atlantic region
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Little has challenged our understanding of climate change more so than the abruptness with which large-scale shifts in temperature occurred during the last glacial period. Atmospheric temperature jumps occurring within decades over Greenland were closely matched by rapid changes in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures and major re-organisation of the deep ocean circulation. Although these climatic instabilities are well-documented in various proxy records, the causal mechanisms of such short-lived oscillations remain poorly understood, largely due to the dating uncertainties that prevent the integration of different archives. Synchronisation of palaeoclimate records on a common timescale is inherently problematic, and unravelling the lead/lag responses (hence cause and effect) between the Earth’s climate components is currently beyond our reach. TRACE - a 5 year project funded by the European Research Council - exploits the use of microscopic traces of tephra deposits to precisely correlate the Greenland ice-cores with North Atlantic marine records. Here we draw upon examples of how these time-lines can be used to constrain the lead/lag responses between the atmospheric and oceanic systems during the last glacial period. High-resolution proxy data from North Atlantic marine cores MD04-2829CQ from the Rosemary Bank and MD04 2820CQ from the Goban Spur are integrated with the Greenland ice-cores according to the position of common tephra isochrons. These direct tie-lines allow us to focus in detail on the relative timing of rapid warming transitions between Greenland and the North Atlantic ocean during the last glacial period.