Deciphering the spatio-temporal complexity of climate change of the last deglaciation: a model analysis

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    Understanding the sequence of events occuring during the last major glacial to interglacial transition (21 ka BP to 9 ka BP) is a challenging task that has the potential to unveil the mechanisms behind large scale climate changes. Though many studies have focused on the understanding of the complex sequence of rapid climatic change that accompanied or interrupted the deglaciation, few have analysed it in a more theoretical framework with simple forcings. In the following, we address when and where the first significant temperature anomalies appeared when using slow varying forcing of the last deglaciation. We used here coupled transient simulations of the last deglaciation, including ocean, atmosphere and vegetation components to analyse the spatial timing of the deglaciation. To keep the analysis in a simple framework, we did not include freshwater forcings that potentially cause rapid climate shifts during that time period. We aimed to disentangle the direct and subsequent response of the climate system to slow forcing and moreover, the location where those changes are more clearly expressed. In a data - modelling comparison perspective, this could help understand the physically plausible phasing between known forcings and recorded climatic changes. Our analysis of climate variability could also help to distinguish deglacial warming signals from internal climate variability. We thus are able to better pinpoint the onset of local deglaciation, as defined by the first significant local warming and further show that there is a large regional variability associated with it, even with the set of slow forcings used here. In our model, the first significant hemispheric warming occurred simultaneously in the North and in the South and is a direct response to the obliquity forcing. © Author(s) 2011.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)591-602
    Number of pages12
    JournalClimate of the Past
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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