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    The nature of MIS 3 stadial-interstadial transitions in Europe: New insights from model-data comparisons

    Van Meerbeeck, C. and Renssen, H. and Roche, D. and Wohlfarth, B. and Bohncke, S.J.P. and Bos, J.A.A. and Engels, Stefan and Helmens, K.F. and Sanchez-Goni, M.F. and Svensson, A. and Vandenberghe, J. (2011) The nature of MIS 3 stadial-interstadial transitions in Europe: New insights from model-data comparisons. Quaternary Science Reviews 30 , pp. 3618-3637. ISSN 0277-3791.

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    15 abrupt warming transitions perturbed glacial climate in Greenland during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3, 60-27 ka BP). One hypothesis states that the 8-16 C warming between Greenland Stadials (GS) and Interstadials (GI) was caused by enhanced heat transport to the North Atlantic region after a resumption of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) from a weak or shutdown stadial mode. This hypothesis also predicts warming over Europe, a prediction poorly constrained by data due to the paucity of well-dated quantitative temperature records. We therefore use a new evidence from biotic proxies and a climate model simulation to study the characteristics of a GS/GI transition in continental Europe and the link to enhanced AMOC strength. We compare reconstructed climatic and vegetation changes between a stadial and subsequent interstadial e correlated to GS15 and GI14 (~55 ka BP) e with a simulated AMOC resumption using a three-dimensional earth system model setup with early-MIS 3 boundary conditions. Over western Europe (12W-15E), we simulate twice the annual precipitation, a 17C warmer coldest month, a 8C warmer warmest month, 1300C-day more growing degree days with baseline 5C (GDD5) and potential vegetation allowing tree cover after the transition. However, the combined effect of frequent killing frosts, <20 mm summer precipitation and too few GDD5 after the transition suggest a northern tree limit lying at 50N during GI14. With these 3 climatic limiting factors we provide a possible explanation for the absence of forests north of 48N during MIS 3 interstadials with mild summers. Finally, apart from a large model bias in warmest month surface air temperatures, our simulation is in reasonable agreement with reconstructed climatic and vegetation changes in Europe, thus further supporting the hypothesis.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Stefan Engels
    Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2021 17:32
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:05


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