Climate Dynamics

, Volume 26, Issue 2–3, pp 273–284 | Cite as

The glacial inception as recorded in the NorthGRIP Greenland ice core: timing, structure and associated abrupt temperature changes

  • Amaelle Landais
  • Valérie Masson-Delmotte
  • Jean Jouzel
  • Dominique Raynaud
  • Sigfus Johnsen
  • Christof Huber
  • Markus Leuenberger
  • Jakob Schwander
  • Bénédicte Minster


The mechanisms involved in the glacial inception are still poorly constrained due to a lack of high resolution and cross-dated climate records at various locations. Using air isotopic measurements in the recently drilled NorthGRIP ice core, we show that no evidence exists for stratigraphic disturbance of the climate record of the last glacial inception (∼123–100 kyears BP) encompassing Dansgaard–Oeschger events (DO) 25, 24 and 23, even if we lack sufficient resolution to completely rule out disturbance over DO 25. We quantify the rapid surface temperature variability over DO 23 and 24 with associated warmings of 10±2.5 and 16±2.5°C, amplitudes which mimic those observed in full glacial conditions. We use records of δ18O of O2 to propose a common timescale for the NorthGRIP and the Antarctic Vostok ice cores, with a maximum uncertainty of 2,500 years, and to examine the interhemispheric sequence of events over this period. After a synchronous North–South temperature decrease, the onset of rapid events is triggered in the North through DO 25. As for later events, DO 24 and 23 have a clear Antarctic counterpart which does not seem to be the case for the very first abrupt warming (DO 25). This information, when added to intermediate levels of CO2 and to the absence of clear ice rafting associated with DO 25, highlights the uniqueness of this first event, while DO 24 and 23 appear similar to typical full glacial DO events.


Glacial Period Warm Phase Glacial Inception Gravitational Signal Marine Core 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the EC within the POP project (EVK2-2000-22067), the CEA, the French CNRS, the Balzan foundation and the IPEV. It is a contribution to the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) organized by the ESF. The comments of the reviewers strongly helped to improve the manuscript. We appreciated fruitful discussions with J. Chappellaz and J.-M. Barnola. We thank G.B. Dreyfus and H. Blatt for their help on the manuscript and all NorthGRIP participants for their cooperative effort.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amaelle Landais
    • 1
    • 5
  • Valérie Masson-Delmotte
    • 1
  • Jean Jouzel
    • 1
  • Dominique Raynaud
    • 2
  • Sigfus Johnsen
    • 3
  • Christof Huber
    • 4
  • Markus Leuenberger
    • 4
  • Jakob Schwander
    • 4
  • Bénédicte Minster
    • 1
  1. 1.IPSL/Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’EnvironnementUMR CEA-CNRS, CEA SaclayGif-sur -YvetteFrance
  2. 2.LGGE, UMR CNRS-UJFSt Martin d’HeresFrance
  3. 3.Department of GeophysicsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Physics InstituteUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  5. 5.Institute of Earth SciencesHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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