The degree of climate instability on the continent during the warmer-than-present Eemian Interglacial (around ca. 123 kyr ago) remains unsolved. Recently published high-resolution proxy data from the North Atlantic Ocean suggest that the Eemian was punctuated by abrupt events with reductions in North Atlantic Deep Water formation accompanied by sea-surface temperature cooling. Here we present multi-proxy data at an unprecedented resolution that reveals a major cooling event intersecting peak Eemian warmth on the North European continent. Two independent temperature reconstructions based on terrestrial plants and chironomids indicate a summer cooling of the order of 2-4 °C. The cooling event started abruptly, had a step-wise recovery, and lasted 500-1000 yr. Our results demonstrate that the common view of relatively stable interglacial climate conditions on the continent should be revised, and that perturbations in the North Atlantic oceanic circulation under warmer-than-present interglacial conditions may also lead to abrupt and dramatic changes on the adjacent continent.
Helmens, K. F., Salonen, J. S., Plikk, A., Engels, S., Väliranta, M., Kylander, M., ... Renssen, H. (2015). Major cooling intersecting peak Eemian Interglacial warmth in northern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.05.018