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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles
  • meridional overturning circulation
  • Indian summer monsoon
  • Younger Dryas
  • 4.2 ka climate event

Index Terms

  • 1605 Global Change: Abrupt/rapid climate change
  • 1616 Global Change: Climate variability
  • 4928 Paleoceanography: Global climate models
  • 4932 Paleoceanography: Ice cores



Abrupt Climate Change Revisited

H. Rashid, L. Polyak, and E. Mosley-Thompson

This geophysical monograph volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 2009 AGU Chapman Conference on Abrupt Climate Change. Paleoclimate records derived from ice cores, lakes, and marine sedimentary archives illustrate rapid changes in the atmosphere-cryosphere-ocean system. Several proxy records and two data-model comparison studies simulate Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during the last deglaciation and millennial-scale temperature oscillations during the last glacial cycle and thereby provide new perspectives on the mechanisms controlling abrupt climate changes. Two hypotheses are presented to explain deep Southern Ocean carbon storage, the rapid increase of the atmospheric carbon dioxide, and retreat of sea ice in the Antarctic Ocean during the last deglaciation. A synthesis of two Holocene climate events at approximately 5.2 ka and 4.2 ka highlights the potential of a rapid response to climate forcing in tropical systems through the hydrological cycle. Both events appear contemporaneous with the collapse of ancient civilizations in low-latitude regions where roughly half of Earth's population lives today.

Citation: Rashid, H., L. Polyak, and E. Mosley-Thompson (2011), Abrupt climate change revisited, in Abrupt Climate Change: Mechanisms, Patterns, and Impacts, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 193, edited by H. Rashid, L. Polyak and E. Mosley-Thompson, pp. 1–14, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001139.

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