Climate Dynamics

, Volume 32, Issue 2–3, pp 301–311 | Cite as

Conceptual model for millennial climate variability: a possible combined solar-thermohaline circulation origin for the ~1,500-year cycle

Original article

Abstract

Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events are the most pronounced climatic changes over the last 120,000 years. Although many of their properties were derived from climate reconstructions, the associated physical mechanisms are not yet fully understood. These events are paced by a ~1,500-year periodicity whose origin remains unclear. In a conceptual model approach, we show that this millennial variability can originate from rectification of an external (solar) forcing, and suggest that the thermohaline circulation, through a threshold response, could be the rectifier. We argue that internal threshold response of the thermohaline circulation (THC) to solar forcing is more likely to produce the observed DO cycles than amplification of weak direct ~1,500-year forcing of unknown origin, by THC. One consequence of our concept is that the millennial variability is viewed as a derived mode without physical processes on its characteristic time scale. Rather, the mode results from the linear representation in the Fourier space of nonlinearly transformed fundamental modes.

Keywords

Rectification Solar forcing Thermohaline circulation Millennial variability Fundamental Derived climate modes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany (MARCOPOLI), by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics, Romania through contract CEEX-112/2005. Thanks go to two anonymous referees for constructive and helpful comments and Drs. Norel Rimbu and Thomas Laepple for fruitful discussions.

References

  1. Alley RB, Anandakrishnan S, Jung P (2001) Stochastic resonance in the North Atlantic. Paleoceanography 16:190–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bianchi GG, McCave IN (1999) Holocene periodicity in North Atlantic climate and deep-ocean flow south of Iceland. Nature 397:515–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bond G, Showers W, Cheseby M, Lotti R, Almasi P, de Menocal P, Priore P, Cullen H, Hajdas I, Bonani G (1997) A pervasive millennial-scale cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and glacial climates. Science 278:1257–1266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bond G, Kromer B, Beer J, Muscheler R, Evans MN, Showers W, Hoffmann S, Lotti-Bond R, Hajdas I, Bonani G (2001) Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Science 294:2130–2136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Braun H, Christl M, Rahmstorf S, Ganopolski A, Mangini A, Kubatzki C, Roth K, Lromer B (2005) Possible solar origin of the 1, 470-year glacial climate cycle demonstrated in a coupled model. Nature 438:208–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Broecker WS, Peteet DM, Rind D (1985) Does the ocean-atmosphere system have more than one stable mode of operation? Nature 315:21–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Broecker WS, Bond G, Klas M, Bonani G, Wolfi W (1990) A salt oscillator in the glacial North Atlantic? The concept. Paleoceanography 5:469–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapman MR, Shackleton NJ (2000) Evidence of 550-year and 1000-year cyclicities in North Atlantic circulation patterns during the Holocene. Holocene 10:287–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clement AC, Cane MA (1999) Mechanisms of global climate change at millennial time scales. American Geophysics Union, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  10. Crowley TJ, Kim KY, Mengel JG, Short DA (1992) Modeling 100, 000 climate fluctuations in pre-Pleistocene time series. Science 255:705–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dansgaard W, Johnsen SJ, Clausen HB, Dahl-Jensen D, Gundestrup N, Hammer CU, Oeschger H (1984) North Atlantic climate oscillations revealed by deep Greenland ice cores. Climate processes and climate sensitivity. Geophysical Monograph. Am. Geophys. Union 29:288–298Google Scholar
  12. Dansgaard W, Johnsen SJ, Clausen HB, Dahl-Jensen D, Gundestrup NS, Hammer CU, Hvidberg CS, Steffensen JP, Sveinbjörnsdottir AE, Jouzel J, Bond G (1993) Evidence for general instability of past climate from a 250-kyr ice-core record. Nature 364:218–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Debret M, Bout-Roumazeilles V, Grousset F, Desmet M, McManus JF, Massei N, Sebag D, Petit JR, Copard Y, Trentesaux A (2007) The origin of the 1500-year climate cycles in Holocene North-Atlantic records. Clim Past 3:569–575Google Scholar
  14. Denton GH, Karlen W (1973) Holocene climatic variations—their pattern and possible cause. Quat Res 3:155–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dima M, Lohmann G (2004) Fundamental and derived modes of climate variability. Concept and application to interannual variability. Tellus 56A:229–249Google Scholar
  16. Ditlevsen PD, Kristensen MS, Andersen KK (2005) The recurrence time of Dansgaard-Oeschger events and limits on the possible periodic component. J Clim 18:2594–2603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gammaitoni L, Hanggi P, Jung P, Marchesoni F (1998) Stochastic resonance. Rev Mod Phys 70:223–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ganopolski A, Rahmstorf S (2001) Rapid changes of glacial climate simulated in a coupled climate model. Nature 409:153–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ganopolski A, Rahmstorf S (2002) Abrupt glacial climate changes due to stochastic resonance. Phys Rev Lett 88(3):038501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ghil M, Allen MR, Dettinger MD, Ide K, Kondrashov D, Mann ME, Robertson AW, Saunders A, Tian Y, Varadi F, Yiou P (2002) Advanced spectral methods for climatic time series. Rev Geophys 40:1–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grootes PM, Stuiver M (1997) Oxygen 18/16 variability in Greenland snow and ice with 10–3 to 105-year time resolution. J Geophys Res 102:26455–26470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heinrich H (1993) Origin and consequences of cyclic ice rafting in the north-east Atlantic Ocean during the past 130,000 years. Quat Res 29:142–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hinnov LA, Schulz M, Yiou P (2002) Interhemispheric space-time attributes of the Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations between 100 and 0 ka. Quat Sci Rev 21:1213–1228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hoyt DV, Shatten KH (1998) Group sunspot numbers: a new solar activity reconstruction. Sol Phys 179:189–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huybers P, Wunsch C (2003) Rectification and precession signals in the climate system. Geophys Res Lett 30(3–1):3–4Google Scholar
  26. MacAyeal DR (1993) Binge/purge oscillations of the Laurentide ice sheet as a cause of the North Atlantic’s Heinrich events. Paleoceanography 8:775–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manabe S, Stouffer RJ (1988) Two stable equilibria of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. J Clim 1:841–866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mayewski PA, Meeker LD, Twickler MS, Whitlow S, Yang Q, Lyons WB, Prentice M (1997) Major features and forcing of high-latitude northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation using a 11, 000-year long glaciochemical series. J Geophys Res 102:26345–26366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McManus JF, Oppo DF, Cullen JL (1999) A 0.5-million-year record of millennial-scale climate variability in the North Atlantic. Science 283:971–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. O’Brien SR, Mayewski PA, Meeker LD, Meese DA, Twickler MS, Whitlow SI (1995) Complexity of Holocene climate as reconstructed from a Greenland ice core. Science 270:1962–1964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Paillard D (2001) Glacial cycles: toward a new paradigm. Rev Geophys 39:325–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rahmstorf S (1994) Rapid climate transitions in a couple ocean-atmosphere model. Nature 372:82–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rahmstorf S (1995) Bifurcations of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to changes in the hydrological cycle. Nature 378:145–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rahmstorf S (2002) Ocean circulation and climate during the past 120, 000 years. Nature 419:207–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rahmstorf S (2003) Timing of abrupt climate change: a precise clock. Geophys Res Lett 30:1510. doi:10.1029/2003GL017115 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rial JA (2004) Abrupt climate change: chaos and order at orbital and millennial scales. Glob Planet Change 41:95–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rimbu N, Lohmann G, Lorenz SJ, Kim JH, Schneider R (2004) Holocene climate variability as derived from alkenone sea surface temperature reconstructions and coupled ocean-atmosphere model experiments. Clim Dynam 23:215–227Google Scholar
  38. Schulz M, Berger WH, Saranthein M, Grootes PM (1999) Amplitude variations of 1470-year climate oscillations during the last 100, 000 years linked to fluctuations of continental ice mass. Geophys Res Lett 26:3385–3388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schulz M (2002) On the 1470-year pacing of Dansgaard-Oeschger warm events. Paleoceanography 17(2):1014. doi:10.1029/2000PA000571 Google Scholar
  40. Schulz M, Paul A (2002) Holocene climate variability on centennial-to-millennial time scales: 1; Climate records from the North-Atlantic Realm; Climate development and history of the North Atlantic Realm. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 41–54Google Scholar
  41. Solanki SK, Usoskin IG, Kromer B, Schussler M, Beer J (2004) Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11, 000 years. Nature 431:1084–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stommel H (1961) Thermohaline convection with two stable regimes of flow. Tellus 13:224–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stuiver M, Braziunas TF (1993) Sun, ocean, climate and atmospheric 14CO2: an evaluation of causal and spectral relationships. Holocene 3:289–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stuiver M, Grootes PM, Braziunas TF (1995) The GISP2 δ18O record of the past 16, 500 years and the role of the sun, ocean and volcanoes. Quat Res 44:341–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Voelker AHL (2002) Global distribution of centennial-scale records for marine isotope stage (MIS) 3: a database. Quat Sci Rev 21:1185–1214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Witt A, Schumann AY (2005) Holocene climate variability on millennial scales recorded in Greenland ice cores. Nonlinear Processes Geophys 12:345–352Google Scholar
  47. Wunsch C (2000) On sharp spectral lines in the climate record and the millennial peak. Paleoceanography 15:417–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wunsch C (2003) Greenland-Antarctic phase relations and millennial time-scales climate fluctuations in the Greenland ice-cores. Quat Sci Rev 22:1631–1646CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric Physics, Faculty of PhysicsUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania

Personalised recommendations