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Collapse of the North American ice saddle 14,500 years ago caused widespread cooling and reduced ocean overturning circulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jan 2017
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Dec 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2017
DatePublished (current) - 16 Jan 2017

Abstract

Collapse of ice sheets can cause significant sea level rise and widespread climate change. We examine the climatic response to meltwater generated by the collapse of the Cordilleran-Laurentide ice saddle (North America) ~14.5 thousand years ago (ka) using a high-resolution drainage model coupled to an ocean-atmosphere-vegetation general circulation model. Equivalent to 7.26 m global mean sea level rise in 340 years, the meltwater caused a 6 sverdrup weakening of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and widespread Northern Hemisphere cooling of 1–5°C. The greatest cooling is in the Atlantic sector high latitudes during Boreal winter (by 5–10°C), but there is also strong summer warming of 1–3°C over eastern North America. Following recent suggestions that the saddle collapse was triggered by the Bølling warming event at ~14.7–14.5 ka, we conclude that this robust submillennial mechanism may have initiated the end of the warming and/or the Older Dryas cooling through a forced AMOC weakening.

    Research areas

  • AMOC, ice sheet melt, Older Dryas, saddle collapse

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Wiley at https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL071849 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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