Holocene Climate Variability on Centennial-to-Millennial Time Scales: 1. Climate Records from the North-Atlantic Realm

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Abstract

Holocene oxygen isotope data from the GISP2 ice core reveal temperature oscillations in Greenland with a periodicity of ~900 y, which can be correlated to climate perturbations in northern and central Europe. We suggest that the 900-y climate fluctuations are generated within the climate system, and are probably triggered by negative salinity anomalies in the North Atlantic. A simple template is used to show that two such triggering events centered at ~8.3 and 4.7 ky BP are required to explain temporal evolution of 900-y climate cycles between ~3.5–8.5 ky BP as sequence of damped oscillations. Although pacing of the 900-y cycles by changes in the Earth’s orbit cannot be ruled out, we regard this scenario as unlikely. We show that the existing paleoceanographic evidence for ~1400–1500-y climate oscillations during the Holocene is questionable. Instead we suggest that deep-sea records from the North Atlantic may be reconciled with 900-y climate oscillations during this period.