New study: Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age

Posted: July 24, 2014 by tallbloke in Celestial Mechanics, Cycles, Ocean dynamics, paleo, solar system dynamics

From Physorg, news of a new paper  which may shed light on the rapid warming at the end of the last ice age. The young scientists don’t mention Milankovitch cycles in this presser, but these are slow to change in comparison to the rapid deglaciation, so maybe their theory lends something to the story. It does lead me to wonder if the precession cycle might be involved with bringing the oceanic oscillations into synch though.

From SoundonSound.com: Here you can see the original waveforms of the two different kick-drum samples. It's clear that they are drifting in and out of phase with each other. The resulting phase cancellation made it impossible to arrive at a consistent sound, so Mike had to edit them back into phase before processing.

From SoundonSound.com:
Here you can see the original waveforms of the two different kick-drum samples. It’s clear that they are drifting in and out of phase with each other. The resulting phase cancellation made it impossible to arrive at a consistent sound, so Mike had to edit them back into phase before processing.

Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age

A newly published study by researchers at Oregon State University probed the geologic past to understand mechanisms of abrupt climate change. The study pinpoints the emergence of synchronized climate variability in the North Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean a few hundred years before the rapid warming that took place at the end of the last ice age about 15,000 years ago.

The study suggests that the combined warming of the two oceans may have provided the tipping point for abrupt warming and rapid melting of the northern ice sheets.

“If we really do cross such a boundary in the future, we should probably take a long-term perspective and realize that change will become the new normal. It may be a wild ride.”

Results of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, appear this week in Science.

This new discovery by OSU researchers resulted from an exhaustive 10-year examination of marine sediment cores recovered off southeast Alaska where geologic records of climate change provide an unusually detailed history of changing temperatures on a scale of decades to centuries over many thousands of years. The researchers then compared their findings with data from the North Greenland Ice Core Project to see if the two distinct high-latitude systems were in any way related.

“Synchronization of two major ocean systems can amplify the transport of heat toward the polar regions and cause larger fluctuations in northern hemisphere climate,” said Summer Praetorius, a doctoral student in marine geology at Oregon State and lead author on the Science paper. “This is consistent with theoretical predictions of what happens when Earth’s climate reaches a tipping point.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will happen in the future,” she pointed out, “but we cannot rule out that possibility.

Most of the time, the two regions vary independently, but about 15,500 years ago, temperature changes started to line up and then both regions warmed abruptly by about five degrees (C) within just a few decades. Praetorius noted that much warmer ocean waters likely would have a profound effect on northern-hemisphere climates by melting sea ice, warming the atmosphere and destabilizing ice sheets over Canada and Europe.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-synchronization-north-atlantic-pacific-abrupt.html

Comments
  1. Roger Andrews says:

    This paper on polar synchronization may be of interest:

    http://www.dynamicpaleoclimate.org/uploads/2/3/5/4/23543390/oh2013qsr.pdf

    It concludes “that polar synchronization has remained constant for millennial-scale climate oscillations over the last 100 ky, and likely over the last 800 ky, which may indicate that the driver of variability is internal to the system, likely the Atlantic thermohaline circulation.”

  2. Scute says:

    It sounds as if this could be the other way round. 16,000 years ago, the coast of the Gulf of Alaska started experiencing ice sheet melt. The sheets are supposed to have hugged the coast and at around 16,000 years ago they had retreated enough to form one of the two ice corridors that allowed humans into the Americas.

    The sea surface temps would have been colder with the freshwater melt staying on the surface, especially near the coast. When the melting began, the freshwater influx might have been steady as the coastal ice shelf receded. Then it might have become sporadic as land was exposed, with a series of separate glacier collapses causing decades-long wild fluctuations of water temperature above the sediment sampling area. Finally, when the various collapses had run their course and the gulf returned to normal seawater conditions with no meltwater, the temperatures rose by 5C almost overnight.

    This scenario explains the conditions described in the paper: gradual rise in temps at first (shelf receding); increasingly wild swings (sporadic, multiple glacier collapse); sudden sea temperature rise (return to normal). Sheet collapse would cause major glaciation and explain the “phenomenal” mountain erosion mentioned in the paper.

    This idea might be countered by the coincidental timing of the warming in the Greenland data. However, if a common trigger caused a similar sheet collapse around Greenland, the process would have been similar in essence and the two sets of data might correlate to within a few centuries perhaps. After all, Meltwater Pulse 1A is thought to be due to the collapse of sheets around Greenland where the ice core data for the N Atlantic was taken. That pulse was 13,000-14,600 years ago, so maybe 900 years after the Alaskan scenario. Here’s a map of the corridor and ice melt time frame.

    Milankovitch is in the ‘wrong’ phase for enhanced summer TSI forcing at this time, if I’m not mistaken (apsides at the equinoxes ~17,000 years ago). But sudden sheet collapse could happen at a tipping point after a long build-up of some such steady forcing.

  3. My guess is that David Evens is correct. Something other than Solar insolation determines the internal energy, hence surface temperature of this Earth! Radiation theory is dead!

  4. ren says:

    Will Janoschka says
    My guess is that David Evens is correct.
    of course he’s right, which is confirmed by other studies. Solar Impulse does not need to be very visible enough that it will fall below the average minimum (critical point).
    http://pl.tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2rqyf4n&s=8#.U9HlwlV_suo
    Please exactly look at the graph of the TSI. You can see exactly that to 2006, TSI still remained normal, followed by a decline below the minimum in previous cycles.

  5. ren says: July 25, 2014 at 6:11 am
    Will Janoschka says(“My guess is that David Evens is correct.”)

    “of course he’s right, which is confirmed by other studies. Solar Impulse does not need to be very visible enough that it will fall below the average minimum (critical point).”

    OK but try to correctly identify Force X, wich I call Force Lubos. For me this is scratch chin, head, ass, in that order, then get dronk.

  6. tallbloke says:

    Wassup has posted about the same paper
    http://t.co/s4ohWluUEz

  7. What we are all doing here is coming up with reasons( lunar included) that probably are all playing a role in the climate. I think noise in the climate system makes it exceptionally hard to see the reasons we claim that effect the climate are so. In addition to noise the climate system often will have factors going on at the same time which are trying to throw the climate in a different direction and some of these factors at times exert a bigger influence then at other times on the climate and sometimes some of these factors can bring the climate to a threshold which then really makes it next to impossible to see how the other factors are still influencing the climate.
    At the same time the given beginning state of the climate is constantly in flux which then either enhances or moderates all the factors that are playing a role in the climate.
    The end result is we have a discussion with many points of view.
    My best shot once again which I am sure some will agree with , disagree with or half way agree with.
    These four factors either combined or in some combination are responsible for all the climate changes on earth. If one agrees with this then one will also have to agree that global climate change is synchronous.

    MY FOUR FACTORS

    The initial state of the global climate.
    a. how close or far away is the global climate to glacial conditions if in inter- glacial, or how close is the earth to inter- glacial conditions if in a glacial condition.
    b. climate was closer to the threshold level between glacial and inter- glacial 20,000 -10,000 years ago. This is why I think the climate was more unstable then. Example solar variability and all items would be able to pull the climate EASIER from one regime to another when the state of the climate was closer to the inter glacial/glacial dividing line, or threshold.
    ..
    Solar variability and the associated primary and secondary effects. Lag times, degree of magnitude change and duration of those changes must be taken into account. I have come up with criteria . I will pass it along, why not in my next email.
    a. solar irradiance changes- linked to ocean heat content.
    b. cosmic ray changes- linked to clouds.
    c. volcanic activity- correlated to stratospheric warming changing which will impact the atmospheric circulation.
    d. UV light changes -correlated to ozone which then can be linked to atmospheric circulation changes.
    e. atmospheric changes – linked to ocean current changes including ENSO, and thermohaline circulation.
    f. atmospheric changes -linked also to albedo changes due to snow cover, cloud cover , and precipitation changes.
    g. thickness of thermosphere – which is linked to other levels of the atmosphere.

    Strength of the magnetic field of the earth. This can enhance or moderate changes associated with solar variability.
    a. weaker magnetic field can enhance cosmic rays and also cause them to be concentrated in lower latitudes where there is more moisture to work with to be more effective in cloud formation if magnetic poles wander south due to magnetic excursions in a weakening magnetic field overall.

    Milankovitch Cycles. Where the earth is at in relation to these cycles as far as how elliptic or not the orbit is, the tilt of the axis and precession.
    .a. less elliptic, less tilt, earth furthest from sun during N.H. summer — favor cooling.

    I feel what I have outlined for the most part is not being taken as a serious possible solution as to why the climate changes. Rather climate change is often trying to be tied with terrestrial changes and worse yet only ONE ITEM , such as CO2 or ENSO which is absurdity.
    Over time not one of these one item explanations stand up, they can not explain all of the various climatic changes to all the different degrees of magnitude and duration of time each one different from the previous one. Each one UNIQUE.
    .Examples would be the sudden start/end of the Oldest, Older and Younger Dryas dramatic climate shifts, the 8200 year ago cold period, and even the sudden start of the Little Ice Age following the Medieval Warm Period.
    .

  8. ren says:

    Let’s look at reality.

  9. ren says:

    Instruction Manual reality.

  10. Paul Vaughan says:

    @ Roger Andrews (July 25, 2014 at 4:01 am)

    Thanks for the link Roger. You remind us that there are some competent people in climate academia doing real work. Are you familiar with Rial’s (2004) “concealed pacemaker”? I also wonder if Tim Channon is familiar with that work?

  11. DD More says:

    Considering how long from to of forcing to top of effect current ice is .ie June 21 to mid September, how much time lag in a 1000 m pile of ice?

  12. tallbloke says:

    DDM: Good question. The estimate for 4C of ‘global warming’ melting the Greenland icecap is of the order of thousands of years. So I don’t see ocean synchronisation doing the job by itself. Our understanding of Milankovitch cycles is sketchy, although Roe’s 2006 paper found a good correlation between solar forcing at 65N and rate of change of ice cover. Cloud changes are the most obvious candidate for a hefty extra dose of energy from the Sun reaching Earth’s surface.

  13. Roger Andrews says:

    @ Paul Vaughan:

    Thanks for the Rial link. Interesting, particularly the tank/siphon model. But I think I’ll stick with my Heinrich Event/albedo hypothesis.

    It’s a pity we can’t get to review the subject paper, but I foresee that one of the (many) problems with it is going to be the accuracy of the age dating, which has to be within about +/-10 years to justify statements like “about 15,500 years ago, temperature changes started to line up and then both regions warmed abruptly by about five degrees (C) within just a few decades”. I can’t speak to the Alaska benthic core, but the Greenland ice core records are nowhere near that accurate. The NGRIP record has to be shifted by 2-3K years to line it up with the GRIP record (see Oh et al Figure 1).

  14. ren says:

    Locking polar vortex at an altitude of 26500 m.
    http://pl.tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2nrmssz&s=8#.U9Np0VV_suo

  15. Jaime says:

    That climate is finely poised at cusp events is nothing new. That the non-linear perturbations evident at such cusp events greatly exceed in magnitude those perturbations which occur during relatively stable climatic episodes (eg. Holocene), is also nothing new. It is entirely to be expected from what is an essentially chaotic non-linear system which is forced by predictable long term cycles (Milankovitch, solar, lunar, planetary). I guess this explanation of synchronous Pacific/Atlantic warming is ‘new’, but not very exciting and quite possibly only half of the story.

    What’s ‘new’ is that alarmists are eyeing up the rapid and momentous climate shifts (well, just the warming ones for now) which occurred during the most recent series of interstadials which marked the end of the Ice Age proper and the beginning of the Holocene. It was inevitable I guess that the lure of 10-15C temperature rises over a period of a few years would be just too much to resist. Hence, Physorg says:

    “Scientists have long been concerned that global warming may push Earth’s climate system across a “tipping point,” where rapid melting of ice and further warming may become irreversible . . . .

    “This is consistent with theoretical predictions of what happens when Earth’s climate reaches a tipping point.”

    “That doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will happen in the future,” she pointed out, “but we cannot rule out that possibility.”

    Scary, scarier and scariest. Expect more ‘research’ along these lines. No matter that we are not in fact just emerging from an Ice Age nor, presumably, just about to enter one (not that that would help their cause). No, what we have here is an attempt to tentatively connect the highly non-linear fluctuations in climate evinced by the Bolling Allerod, Younger Dryas etc. interstadials to today’s supposedly highly artificially CO2 driven climate. The Holy Grail of Global Warming is the “tipping point”; if they can ‘prove’ that is a possibility, then they can demand that we all abandon carbon powered high tech living tomorrow and start living in caves – or else. And what better way to start than with synchronous, catstrophically abrupt ‘double whammy’ Pacific/Atlantic warming. It happened before; it may happen again..

  16. oldbrew says:

    SDP says: ‘I feel what I have outlined for the most part is not being taken as a serious possible solution as to why the climate changes. Rather climate change is often trying to be tied with terrestrial changes…’

    A lot of what you propose is similar to what Piers Corbyn has been saying for years.

    However he is suspicious of the claims made for cosmic rays, and says it’s more to do with the totality of charged particles from the solar wind which he thinks is a much bigger force – up to 300 times greater IIRC.

  17. ren says:

    Tallbloke where EL Niño?

  18. Sera says:

    Link:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6195/444

    [Reply] Thanks, I’ll edit into the top post.

  19. tallbloke says:

    ren: it looks like you found the missing heat. 😉

  20. tallbloke says:

    Jaime: Good comment, but the flipside is that this study is saying that a ‘wild ride’ of increased climate variability could be the outcome of natural phenomena, rather than anything to do with human activity. That reinforces the IPCC SREX report which pretty much confirms that there is no way ‘extreme weather’ events can be attributed to any human caused effect.

  21. Scute says:

    As is often the case, the supplementary pages are not paywalled and that’s often where the methodology is laid out in detail. Here they are:

    http://m.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2014/07/23/345.6195.444.DC1/Praetorius.SM.pdf

    It answers Paul Vaughn’s question re decadal accuracy for sure. A lot of adjusting going on. Although I think I may be a case of uncertain absolute dating vs annual/decadal sediment precision. The absolute part is based on carbon dating, adjusted by up to 700 years or more to align it with other data bases.

  22. I think this site is the site that is well on the way to solving the climate puzzle. We have great posters here.

    We don’t agree on everything (which is good) but we are al getting to the heart of the matter through all the contributions which all help solve the climate puzzle. I have learned from other posters on this site as well as being able to put forth my two cents on what I think.

    I appreciate this site..

  23. Jaime says:

    Thanks Rog. We’ve got alarmists jumping on the extreme weather bandwagon and now it seems that they are jumping on the abrupt climate change bandwagon too. For me, extreme weather perturbations are like the microcosm of extreme climate perturbations; chaos manifesting over hours, days, weeks, on a local scale, rather than over years on a much larger scale. The analogy may go even deeper, with emerging patterns of extreme weather being evidence of a more general (modest) climate shift, just as interstadials – abrupt swings in climate – occur at the cusp of major climate shifts (ice ages >> interglacials and vice versa). ‘As above, so also below’ and all that. As you point out, the IPCC admits that there is very little evidence for greenhouse gas warming influencing extreme weather, but there is rather more in the way of scientific evidence linking natural climate change with patterns of extreme weather.

  24. […] Pleistocene ice age, I suppose, and FoS notes that there is vigourous discussion on the topic at Tallbloke’s blog involving the Milankovic […]