How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period?

Amaelle Landais, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Emilie Capron, Petra M. Langebroek, Pepijn Bakker, Emma J. Stone, Niklaus Merz, Christoph C. Raible, Hubertus Fischer, Anaïs Orsi, Frédéric Prié, Bo Vinther, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The last interglacial period (LIG, ∼ 129–116 thousand years ago) provides the most recent case study of multimillennial polar warming above the preindustrial level and a response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to this warming, as well as a test bed for climate and ice sheet models. Past changes in Greenland ice sheet thickness and surface temperature during this period were recently derived from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core records, northwest Greenland. The NEEM paradox has emerged from an estimated large local warming above the preindustrial level (7.5 ± 1.8 °C at the deposition site 126 kyr ago without correction for any overall ice sheet altitude changes between the LIG and the preindustrial period) based on water isotopes, together with limited local ice thinning, suggesting more resilience of the real Greenland ice sheet than shown in some ice sheet models. Here, we provide an independent assessment of the average LIG Greenland surface warming using ice core air isotopic composition (δ15N) and relationships between accumulation rate and temperature. The LIG surface temperature at the upstream NEEM deposition site without ice sheet altitude correction is estimated to be warmer by +8.5 ± 2.5 °C compared to the preindustrial period. This temperature estimate is consistent with the 7.5 ± 1.8 °C warming initially determined from NEEM water isotopes but at the upper end of the preindustrial period to LIG temperature difference of +5.2 ± 2.3 °C obtained at the NGRIP (North Greenland Ice Core Project) site by the same method. Climate simulations performed with present-day ice sheet topography lead in general to a warming smaller than reconstructed, but sensitivity tests show that larger amplitudes (up to 5 °C) are produced in response to prescribed changes in sea ice extent and ice sheet topography.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate of the Past
PublisherCopernicus GmbH
Pages1933-1948
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)1814-9359
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2016

Publication series

NameClimate of the Past
Volume12

Fingerprint

Last Interglacial
ice sheet
warming
ice core
surface temperature
topography
isotope
GRIP
ice
Eemian
temperature
climate
accumulation rate
thinning
sea ice
isotopic composition
drilling
water
air

Cite this

Landais, A., Masson-Delmotte, V., Capron, E., Langebroek, P. M., Bakker, P., Stone, E. J., ... Dahl-Jensen, D. (2016). How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period? In Climate of the Past (pp. 1933-1948). (Climate of the Past; Vol. 12). Copernicus GmbH. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-1933-2016
Landais, Amaelle ; Masson-Delmotte, Valérie ; Capron, Emilie ; Langebroek, Petra M. ; Bakker, Pepijn ; Stone, Emma J. ; Merz, Niklaus ; Raible, Christoph C. ; Fischer, Hubertus ; Orsi, Anaïs ; Prié, Frédéric ; Vinther, Bo ; Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe. / How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period?. Climate of the Past. Copernicus GmbH, 2016. pp. 1933-1948 (Climate of the Past).
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title = "How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period?",
abstract = "The last interglacial period (LIG, ∼ 129–116 thousand years ago) provides the most recent case study of multimillennial polar warming above the preindustrial level and a response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to this warming, as well as a test bed for climate and ice sheet models. Past changes in Greenland ice sheet thickness and surface temperature during this period were recently derived from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core records, northwest Greenland. The NEEM paradox has emerged from an estimated large local warming above the preindustrial level (7.5 ± 1.8 °C at the deposition site 126 kyr ago without correction for any overall ice sheet altitude changes between the LIG and the preindustrial period) based on water isotopes, together with limited local ice thinning, suggesting more resilience of the real Greenland ice sheet than shown in some ice sheet models. Here, we provide an independent assessment of the average LIG Greenland surface warming using ice core air isotopic composition (δ15N) and relationships between accumulation rate and temperature. The LIG surface temperature at the upstream NEEM deposition site without ice sheet altitude correction is estimated to be warmer by +8.5 ± 2.5 °C compared to the preindustrial period. This temperature estimate is consistent with the 7.5 ± 1.8 °C warming initially determined from NEEM water isotopes but at the upper end of the preindustrial period to LIG temperature difference of +5.2 ± 2.3 °C obtained at the NGRIP (North Greenland Ice Core Project) site by the same method. Climate simulations performed with present-day ice sheet topography lead in general to a warming smaller than reconstructed, but sensitivity tests show that larger amplitudes (up to 5 °C) are produced in response to prescribed changes in sea ice extent and ice sheet topography.",
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Landais, A, Masson-Delmotte, V, Capron, E, Langebroek, PM, Bakker, P, Stone, EJ, Merz, N, Raible, CC, Fischer, H, Orsi, A, Prié, F, Vinther, B & Dahl-Jensen, D 2016, How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period? in Climate of the Past. Climate of the Past, vol. 12, Copernicus GmbH, pp. 1933-1948. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-1933-2016

How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period? / Landais, Amaelle; Masson-Delmotte, Valérie; Capron, Emilie; Langebroek, Petra M.; Bakker, Pepijn; Stone, Emma J.; Merz, Niklaus; Raible, Christoph C.; Fischer, Hubertus; Orsi, Anaïs; Prié, Frédéric; Vinther, Bo; Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe.

Climate of the Past. Copernicus GmbH, 2016. p. 1933-1948 (Climate of the Past; Vol. 12).

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Landais, Amaelle

AU - Masson-Delmotte, Valérie

AU - Capron, Emilie

AU - Langebroek, Petra M.

AU - Bakker, Pepijn

AU - Stone, Emma J.

AU - Merz, Niklaus

AU - Raible, Christoph C.

AU - Fischer, Hubertus

AU - Orsi, Anaïs

AU - Prié, Frédéric

AU - Vinther, Bo

AU - Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe

PY - 2016/9/29

Y1 - 2016/9/29

N2 - The last interglacial period (LIG, ∼ 129–116 thousand years ago) provides the most recent case study of multimillennial polar warming above the preindustrial level and a response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to this warming, as well as a test bed for climate and ice sheet models. Past changes in Greenland ice sheet thickness and surface temperature during this period were recently derived from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core records, northwest Greenland. The NEEM paradox has emerged from an estimated large local warming above the preindustrial level (7.5 ± 1.8 °C at the deposition site 126 kyr ago without correction for any overall ice sheet altitude changes between the LIG and the preindustrial period) based on water isotopes, together with limited local ice thinning, suggesting more resilience of the real Greenland ice sheet than shown in some ice sheet models. Here, we provide an independent assessment of the average LIG Greenland surface warming using ice core air isotopic composition (δ15N) and relationships between accumulation rate and temperature. The LIG surface temperature at the upstream NEEM deposition site without ice sheet altitude correction is estimated to be warmer by +8.5 ± 2.5 °C compared to the preindustrial period. This temperature estimate is consistent with the 7.5 ± 1.8 °C warming initially determined from NEEM water isotopes but at the upper end of the preindustrial period to LIG temperature difference of +5.2 ± 2.3 °C obtained at the NGRIP (North Greenland Ice Core Project) site by the same method. Climate simulations performed with present-day ice sheet topography lead in general to a warming smaller than reconstructed, but sensitivity tests show that larger amplitudes (up to 5 °C) are produced in response to prescribed changes in sea ice extent and ice sheet topography.

AB - The last interglacial period (LIG, ∼ 129–116 thousand years ago) provides the most recent case study of multimillennial polar warming above the preindustrial level and a response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to this warming, as well as a test bed for climate and ice sheet models. Past changes in Greenland ice sheet thickness and surface temperature during this period were recently derived from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core records, northwest Greenland. The NEEM paradox has emerged from an estimated large local warming above the preindustrial level (7.5 ± 1.8 °C at the deposition site 126 kyr ago without correction for any overall ice sheet altitude changes between the LIG and the preindustrial period) based on water isotopes, together with limited local ice thinning, suggesting more resilience of the real Greenland ice sheet than shown in some ice sheet models. Here, we provide an independent assessment of the average LIG Greenland surface warming using ice core air isotopic composition (δ15N) and relationships between accumulation rate and temperature. The LIG surface temperature at the upstream NEEM deposition site without ice sheet altitude correction is estimated to be warmer by +8.5 ± 2.5 °C compared to the preindustrial period. This temperature estimate is consistent with the 7.5 ± 1.8 °C warming initially determined from NEEM water isotopes but at the upper end of the preindustrial period to LIG temperature difference of +5.2 ± 2.3 °C obtained at the NGRIP (North Greenland Ice Core Project) site by the same method. Climate simulations performed with present-day ice sheet topography lead in general to a warming smaller than reconstructed, but sensitivity tests show that larger amplitudes (up to 5 °C) are produced in response to prescribed changes in sea ice extent and ice sheet topography.

U2 - 10.5194/cp-12-1933-2016

DO - 10.5194/cp-12-1933-2016

M3 - Chapter

SN - 1814-9359

T3 - Climate of the Past

SP - 1933

EP - 1948

BT - Climate of the Past

PB - Copernicus GmbH

ER -

Landais A, Masson-Delmotte V, Capron E, Langebroek PM, Bakker P, Stone EJ et al. How warm was Greenland during the last interglacial period? In Climate of the Past. Copernicus GmbH. 2016. p. 1933-1948. (Climate of the Past). https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-1933-2016