Multiple causes of the Younger Dryas cold period

Renssen, Hans and Mairesse, Aurelien and Goosse, Hugues and Mathiot, Pierre and Heiri, Oliver and Roche, Didier M. and Nisancioglu, Kerim H. and Valdes, Paul J.. (2015) Multiple causes of the Younger Dryas cold period. Nature Geoscience, 8 (12). pp. 946-949.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/69347/

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The Younger Dryas cooling event disrupted the overall warming trend in the North Atlantic region during the last deglaciation(1-6). Climate change during the Younger Dryas was abrupt(7-9), and thus provides insights into the sensitivity of the climate system to perturbations. The sudden Younger Dryas cooling has traditionally been attributed to a shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation by meltwater discharges(10-13). However, alternative explanations such as strong negative radiative forcing(14) and a shift in atmospheric circulation(15) have also been offered. Here we investigate the importance of these different forcings in coupled climate model experiments constrained by data assimilation. We find that the Younger Dryas climate signal as registered in proxy evidence is best simulated using a combination of processes: a weakened Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, moderate negative radiative forcing and an altered atmospheric circulation. We conclude that none of the individual mechanisms alone provide a plausible explanation for the Younger Dryas cold period. We suggest that the triggers for abrupt climate changes such as the Younger Dryas are more complex than suggested so far, and that studies on the response of the climate system to perturbations should account for this complexity.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Geoökologie (Heiri)
UniBasel Contributors:Heiri, Oliver
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:16 Nov 2020 15:33
Deposited On:16 Nov 2020 15:33

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