Researchers find 200-year lag between climate events in Greenland and Antarctica

Posted: April 30, 2015 by oldbrew in Analysis, climate, data, Natural Variation
Tags: , , ,
One of Greenland's islands [credit: Wikipedia]

One of Greenland’s islands [credit: Wikipedia]

Science Daily reports on recent research by Oregon State University (H/T The Hockeyshtick):
A new study using evidence from a highly detailed ice core from West Antarctica shows a consistent link between abrupt temperature changes on Greenland and Antarctica during the last ice age, giving scientists a clearer picture of the link between climate in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Greenland climate during the last ice age was very unstable, the researchers say, characterized by a number of large, abrupt changes in mean annual temperature that each occurred within several decades. These so-called “Dansgaard-Oeschger events” took place every few thousand years during the last ice age. Temperature changes in Antarctica showed an opposite pattern, with Antarctica cooling when Greenland was warm, and vice versa.

In this study funded by the National Science Foundation and published this week in the journal Nature, the researchers discovered that the abrupt climates changes show up first in Greenland, with the response to the Antarctic climate delayed by about 200 years. The researchers documented 18 abrupt climate events during the past 68,000 years.

“The fact that temperature changes are opposite at the two poles suggests that there is a redistribution of heat going on between the hemispheres,” said Christo Buizert, a post-doctoral research at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “We still don’t know what caused these past shifts, but understanding their timing gives us important clues about the underlying mechanisms.

“The 200-year lag that we observe certainly hints at an oceanic mechanism,” Buizert added. “If the climatic changes were propagated by the atmosphere, the Antarctic response would have occurred in a matter of years or decades, not two centuries. The ocean is large and sluggish, thus the 200-year time lag is a pretty clear fingerprint of the ocean’s involvement.”

The report then drifts off into some vague assertions about man-made warming which don’t say anything about what they were actually doing, before continuing with the review of their research – including discussion of possible mechanisms – here:
Researchers find 200-year lag between climate events in Greenland, Antarctica | News & Research Communications | Oregon State University.

They conclude: “It’s not a problem to find potential mechanisms; it’s just a question of figuring out which one is right. And the precise timing of these events, like we describe in this study, is an important part of the puzzle.”

  1. ren says:

    Flux radio shows well the magnetic activity of the sun

  2. oldbrew says:

    On ren’s graphic (above) the bottom of the ‘wave’ corresponds to the end/start of a solar cycle.

  3. ren says:

    “But the Atlantic overturning circulation is still an important player in today’s climate,” Willis added. “Some have suggested cyclic changes in the overturning may be warming and cooling the whole North Atlantic over the course of several decades and affecting rainfall patterns across the United States and Africa, and even the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.”

  4. Jerry says:

    This is one more factor to consider when “global” temperatures are calculated by averaging. Are there equal numbers of temperature measurements in the northern and the southern hemispheres? If not, perhaps some form of compensation — perhaps weighting — should be utilized when calculating averages.

    [reply] tricky when there’s much more land in the northern hemisphere

  5. Other lines of evidence show changes in the climate of the S.H. and N.H were synchronous.

  6. oldbrew says:

    SdP: the Younger Dryas looks like a one-off event whereas the above research covers 68000 years.

    OTOH whether ice cores that old are reliable is not clear.

  7. I still think the evidence for prior years points to synchronous which is what one would expect if one believes in the solar climate connection.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Greenland and Antarctica are not obviously ‘synchronous’ at the moment, unless (possibly) the definition excludes sea ice.

  9. The question is what is synchronous? The N.H. is always going to react much more and differently to items that effect the climate then the S.H. but that does not mean they are not in sync.
    If you believe solar is the driver of the climate then you will accept synchronicity

  10. oldbrew says:

    The oceans have a role in climate e.g. the Gulf Stream. Why does sea ice in the south grow while it retreats in the north, when they both receive the same heat source?

  11. Geography. The Arctic unlike the Antarctic is subject to warm ocean currents from the Pacific and Atlantic.

  12. […] as near as I can tell they did not allow for the approximate 200 year lag between when a temperature anomaly shows up in Greenland and when it gets to Antarctica, so some of […]

  13. sabretoothed says:

    Prof Ian Plimer book says that when Antarctica grows Greenland shrinks and vice versa. This is known geology basics

  14. ren says:

    In my opinion it is connected with precession. Maybe there are turning points on the road axis of the Earth, which strongly affect the climate.

  15. oldbrew says:

    Don’t forget the 200-year Greenland-Antarctica lag in this research only applies to abrupt climate changes, which occurred 18 times in 68000 years (on average every ~3778 years).

  16. hunter says:

    200 years is dubious at best.
    OT, but best wishes on the upcoming election. Elections while under oligarchic rule are frustrating times.

  17. ren says:

    The high magnetic activity of the sun does not cause temperature fluctuations in the stratosphere over the polar circle.

    Of course, there is also no pressure peaks.

  18. ren says:

    The polar vortex is strong, because the ice grows quickly.

  19. Paul Vaughan says:

    Once again we encounter supposed climate “experts” who don’t realize that the atmosphere is the primary driver and pacer of ocean currents.

    There’s a stubborn, counterproductive cultural layer of ignorance about ocean circulation that will have to be vigilantly stripped away before anything sensible about ocean circulation will ever be stated by anyone other than Bill Illis at climate blogs located more centrally in the climate blog network.

    I think the trick (in the misinformation campaign being aggressively waged by the central climate blogs) is to get people thinking about temperatures in anomalies rather than absolutes. This blinds them to the physical role of annually-cycling equator-pole insolation gradients in (consequently) wind-driven ocean circulation.

    Keeping the public focused on anomalies camouflages the simple role of the sun in terrestrial climate.

    The sun-climate misinformation campaign has been remarkably effective on its conceptually weak western mainstream audience, but there’s no chance that wise eastern leaders are naive enough to fall for such comically amateur deception.

  20. oldbrew says:

    The paper says: “If the climatic changes were propagated by the atmosphere, the Antarctic response would have occurred in a matter of years or decades, not two centuries.”

  21. ren says:

    The circulation in the lower stratosphere shows a strong cooling of the North Atlantic.,54.80,454

  22. Paul very well said. That is exactly what this article or study is trying to do. I can see through them.

  23. oldbrew says:

    Let’s not get confused here. We’re talking about 18 events in 68000 years.

  24. I disagree with this article which by the way advocates AGW theory.

  25. Warming today is global and primarily from human carbon dioxide emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere.

    From the article. Enough.

  26. oldbrew says:

    SdP: they all say that. It’s mandatory these days 😉

    It just confirms it’s a garbage propaganda statement because they all have to come out with it. If we’re put off by it there’s little point reading any papers any more except possibly by the Russians or Chinese.

  27. Paul Vaughan says:

    Misinformation about interhemispheric phasing is persistently pushed in the western climate blog campaign (e.g. lukewarmist sites like ce & wuwt that appear systematically designed as a half-way house on the path of religious conversion from climate realist to anthropocentric dupe).

    100ka & 400ka phase-difference is 0, but the 20ka interhemispheric tropical monsoon phase-difference is π. Where this new study goofs up (well, one of it’s goof-ups) is in seeing a see-saw where the DO phase-difference is actually π/2.

    Too much of all of this deliberately-deceptive (wake up folks it’s systematic) talk of interhemispheric phasing is divorced from and ignorant of timescale & phenomenon. (The resident so-called “geology expert” can’t read simple graphs apparently. (psych!! fooled you!…))

    People can’t even keep their photographic memory (do they even have one??) of observations straight, so the campaigners are free to immerse dull audiences in the deception of a model-world that’s thoroughly (they’re no doubt having a good laugh) divorced from reality.

    A DO π/2 review of Rial (2012) is due (fig. 1, 7, 11):
    • ocean surface vs. deep (planktonic vs. benthic)
    • polar north vs. south
    • CO2 vs. methane

    Click to access 417.full.pdf

    Specifically: The Western Climate Misinformation Campaign is trying to camouflage this:

    The thing is:
    Eastern Leaders just aren’t that dumb.

    Trust has been undercut by the persistent suggestions that they are (like wtf???! you rude, hubristic…)

    …must be some kind of a cross-cultural ignorance (and deception!!) thing.

    Well, let’s just sit back and acknowledge observation.
    Watch the credibility gap grow …until it snaps.

  28. oldbrew says:

    PV: 200 years is too short to spot on your graphic.

  29. Paul Vaughan says:

    OB, I’m trying to point out the deception (…which frankly appears hubristicly deliberate — so breathtakingly-rudely offensive, to the point of instantly-obliterated trust).

    They’re comparing d(WDC d18O)/dt to NGRIP d18O:

    …so any sensible onlooker is going to ask the obvious question:
    Why aren’t they instead comparing the integral of negative NGRIP d18O to WDC d18O???

    You see?? (Read Rial’s telling figure 1 caption above.)

    It’s easy for them to fool an audience ignorant of fractional differintegrals.

    People need to stop and think about what dX/dt means and why they’re comparing that (!!) to get the lag (!). (It’s hard to believe anyone worth listening to would actually be fooled by this obvious trick.)

    Let’s be clear: These people have botched their analysis & interpretations. (To me it looks like they’re doing it on purpose to deliberately mislead an audience onto the “noble-cause” guideway.)

    (spectacularly) Not impressed. Trickery of this nature is going to generate genuine anger when people realize what’s going on.

  30. oldbrew says:

    Cock-up or conspiracy? Place your bets 😉

  31. Paul Vaughan says:

    Let’s look at it this way OB…

    Fooling the president of China isn’t as easy as fooling the dull american public.
    (Let’s keep in mind also that trying to fool the president of China is decisively inadvisable.)

    …so this is an example where the domestic & foreign policy objectives can’t be met by media-campaigning with the same (quarter-cycle-spun) “science”.

    Nonetheless we have scope here for due nature appreciation and productive discussion if people will only allow themselves to get duly focused on what Rial is saying about the integral of NGRIP d18O. It’s dead simple.

    …then it’s just a matter of getting people to go out in a boat to realize that wind drives ocean currents. (Too many uncertain land-lubbers comically believe monstrous ocean currents are driven by vague, unknowable magic. The uncertainty monster preferentially bites dull minds …so stay sharp!)

    Poleward insolation gradients blow (wind evaporation + surface transport) warm water to the ice margins for deposition (snow on (& later runoff from) the land ice sheets + coherent THC along the sea ice margins).

    As it has always been:
    It’s the sun. Via wind the sun drives observed spatiotemporal differintegral structure. US campaigners have brainwashed the dull american public otherwise, but eastern leaders with sharper minds were never vulnerable.


  32. Paul Vaughan says:

    oldbrew (May 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm) wrote:
    “The paper says: “If the climatic changes were propagated by the atmosphere, the Antarctic response would have occurred in a matter of years or decades, not two centuries.””

    That’s some seriously misleading language.

    They need to review Rial’s work, with specific attention to the ocean bottom (benthic) relation to the ocean surface (planktonic) integral. It seems they’ll go to any lengths to keep the focus away from the primary role of insolation-driven wind in the large-scale ocean circulation integral.

    Ignorance is an inadequate explanation for such severe misconception and misinterpretation of ocean-atmosphere coupling. It certainly is enough to make one extremely suspicious about (hidden – or perhaps not so well-hidden) motives.

  33. oldbrew says:

    This paper also features at WUWT. I’m just quoting it here, not advocating anything:

    ‘Here we use a recently drilled high-accumulation Antarctic ice core to show that, on average, abrupt Greenland warming leads the corresponding Antarctic cooling onset by 218 ± 92 years (2σ) for Dansgaard–Oeschger events, including the Bølling event; Greenland cooling leads the corresponding onset of Antarctic warming by 208 ± 96 years. Our results demonstrate a north-to-south directionality of the abrupt climatic signal, which is propagated to the Southern Hemisphere high latitudes by oceanic rather than atmospheric processes. The similar inter-polar phasing of warming and cooling transitions suggests that the transfer time of the climatic signal is independent of the AMOC background state. Our findings confirm a central role for ocean circulation in the bipolar seesaw and provide clear criteria for assessing hypotheses and model simulations of Dansgaard–Oeschger dynamics.’

    NB the 208 and 218 years look a lot like the de Vries cycle period, although the +/- figures are quite large.

    ‘a central role for ocean circulation in the bipolar seesaw‘ – like it or not, the bipolar seesaw or something like it is in evidence today in terms of sea ice.

  34. oldbrew says:

    Scientists discover salty aquifer and microbial habitat under Antarctica

    “These unfrozen materials appear to be relics of past surface ecosystems and our findings provide compelling evidence that they now provide deep subsurface habitats for microbial life despite extreme environmental conditions,” says lead author Jill Mikucki, an assistant professor at UTK. “These new below-ground visualization technologies can also provide insight on glacial dynamics and how Antarctica responds to climate change.”

  35. oldbrew says:

    This paper makes it a bit more interesting, suggesting where exactly the ice core comes from could be a factor:

    ‘In Antarctica the Byrd core from West Antarctica, and probably the Vostok and some other cores from East Antarctica, show events that are correlative to the larger millennial events of Greenland, including the Younger Dryas (6, 31). Byrd and Vostok also contain indications of events that may be correlative to nearly all of the Greenland events (31). However, the ice isotopes indicate an antiphase behavior, with Byrd warm during the major events when Greenland was cold; dating control is not good enough to determine the phase of the smaller events. The general impression of the Antarctic events is that they are smaller and less abrupt than those in Greenland, although fewer paleothermometers and other indicators have been brought to bear in Antarctica, reducing confidence somewhat.

    To further complicate the issue, the Taylor Dome core from a near-coastal site in East Antarctica appears to be in-phase with Greenland and out-of-phase with Byrd during the deglacial interval centered on the Younger Dryas (32). As reviewed in ref. 33, non-ice records from broadly distributed sites in the Northern Hemisphere indicate large, abrupt changes (near-)synchronous with those in Greenland, with generally cold, dry, and windy conditions occurring together although with some sites wet perhaps because of storm-track shifts (cf. ref. 28). Some Southern Hemisphere sites also exhibit the Greenland pattern during the deglaciation, although high-resolution (annually resolved) southern records are still lacking. However, southern sites near and downwind of the south Atlantic show an anti-Greenland pattern with millennial warming when Greenland cooled, superimposed on the slower orbital variations, which are broadly synchronous in both hemispheres.’

  36. Paul Vaughan says:

    OB, I can see you’re developing more sophisticated conceptualization of the complex differintegral spatiotemporal phasing. Very refreshing to see this, which I consider evidence of discussion progress.

    For too long political forces at the more central climate blogs had domineering influence with their strong desire to dumb-down all messaging. Important (but politically inconvenient) nuances were tossed out the window. I welcome a new era where the observational nuances are appreciated as information.

    At the central climate blogs the notion that circulation changes shape (spatially) over time (thus rotating temporal phase relations in the complex plane) is still banned. We need to correct that.

    For sure there’s a strong, well-documented spatial dipole across the Antarctic Peninsula. That’s probably the easiest Antarctic starting place for newcomers to the complexity.

    The newcomers are the ones who are most vulnerable to the vicious political push for an unrealistic dumbing-down of conceptualization to falsely-assumed uniformity & stationarity. Political forces have to maintain belief in those false assumptions, for their “sun has no effect” narrative crumbles to rubble as soon as people with a clue realize properties of Earth as simple as north-south land-ocean asymmetry.

    Over time I’ve come to regard the uniformity/stationarity social-intimidation-tactic-wielding thought-police at the central climate blogs as a force of at least near-evil. Who do they work for? I don’t think we benefit from shying away from these issues as if they don’t exist.

    For sure these people are part of a very well-orchestrated and resoundingly successful campaign to maintain dull western belief in convenient false assumptions. They’ve been bestowed with both the time and the resources to manage a successful campaign in the west. They’ve thus set western understanding of climate back decades.

    The only sponsor that would make sense to me: western military. Let’s not shy away from shining speculative light. Even if they aren’t sponsored by western military, I think we stand a better chance of correcting them conceptually in the long-run if we let it show publicly how extremely suspicious we become of political agents actively denying admission of 1+1=2 to the discussion. Their sun-climate deception is nakedly transparent to people with a clue. The people they’re fooling are dull, submissive westerners who are outnumbered & inconsequential in a global context including scores of brilliant easterners. (We have to have some fun with all of this!)

    So in conclusion: Circulatory phase relations (0 = in-phase; π/2 = 1/4 cycle difference; π = see-saw = anti-phased; or whatever else might be observed) vary with time, place, scale, & phenomenon. (Anyone suggesting otherwise might be an undercover western military operative!! …obviously!)

    Can we get people to be more sensible about aggregation criteria?
    don’t know

  37. Paul Vaughan says:

    OB quoted a study:
    “[…] orbital variations, which are broadly synchronous in both hemispheres”

    Careful with that everyone, PLEASE! Let’s develop more nuanced awareness to be real (…instead of politically dumbed-down to tailor a consequently false message!)

    Let’s be more careful generalizing about “Orbital” timescale interhemispheric phase-relations — e.g.:

    0 phase-difference:
    interhemispheric 100ka & 400ka temperatures

    π radians = 1/2 cycle phase-contrast = anti-phased:
    ~20ka interhemispheric tropical monsoons


  38. Paul Vaughan says:

    The process of elimination is feasible for differentiating between internal & external.
    It looks like it might be time to start introducing this…

    Insolation Geometry 101

    equator-pole: integral
    pole-pole: balanced spatiotemporal diffferential

    Insolation geometries are simple equator-pole and pole-pole (land-ocean asymmetry, distribution of continents), whereas internal turbulence geometries are fractal. The internal turbulent fractal geometries are coupled to the simple external insolation geometry, so this is where thoughtful aggregation becomes necessary to take care to isolate real signal from haphazard alias due to blurred, lazy, &/or immature thinking about aggregation.

    Vortex shredding of turbulent flow over open ocean for example differs from the stationarity for example around headlands or Drake Passage. Turbulence touches the boundaries. This doesn’t make the simple large-scale insolation geometry go away. It just scrambles the signal to ignorant (&/or deceptive) aggregation. The scrambling isn’t random; rather it’s chaotic, so inferential methods assuming randomness aren’t realistic because the chaos is coupled nonlinearly to something simple and deterministic (insolation).

    There isn’t time to go further with this geometric process-of-elimination introduction today, but competent independent thinkers can deduce firsthand the cause of multidecadal climate waves from monthly sunspot numbers and daily earth rotation records via simple geometric axioms and the laws of large numbers & conservation of angular momentum. More generally: Geometries can be sorted out via careful attentiveness to differintegral spatiotemporal phase-relations.

  39. Paul Vaughan says:

    clarification/elaboration to help ensure lack of misunderstanding/misinterpretation/etc.:

    Pole-pole is just an obvious insolation example.
    There’s an obvious east-west one too (ENSO pattern).

    It’s important to realize that this generalizes beyond the manifestations easily recognizable by humans (like north-south & ENSO sideways-V-pattern).

    As indicated previously: It’s a multi-axial differential and the axes are defined primarily by advective (heat flux) spatiotemporal partitioning of water phases (e.g. precipitation over ice sheets & THC at sea ice margins coupled to AMO; OLR coupled to ENSO; etc., etc.)

    Collectively the multitude of such phenomena bundle into a dead-simple balanced differential. (It can be no other way; this can be deduced logically from laws & geometric axioms.)

    That’s probably enough on this for now.

  40. Paul Vaughan says:

    Does everyone remember Livina & Lenton?
    Here we find another instance of them getting into conceptual trouble exploring modality:

    Changing climate states and stability: from Pliocene to present (2011)

    Click to access Clim_Dyn_11.pdf

    See their fig. 5 and here’s the relevant paragraph from the “Discussion”:

    “Analysis of the EPICA Antarctic temperature proxy record from 800 kyr BP gives an unclear picture. Across the longest time windows, the predominant result is a system with three states. For the past 400 kyr or so these states might be identified as interglacial, full glacial and early glacial, as in the model of Paillard (1998). However, the early part of the record, when there is nothing corresponding to the current warm interglacials, is also seen as three states, and temporarily (circa 600 to 500 kyr BP) as one state. We conclude that this record is not well described by a potential function.”

    Better familiarity with the works of Rial should bring them a revelation (if they haven’t already had it — after all it has been 4 years).

  41. ren says:

    Current sunlight.

  42. ren says:

    Click graf.

  43. Paul Vaughan says:

    Good stuff ren.
    Really highlights the land-ice-orography-ocean contrasts. Nevermind just the theoretical insolation curves for a (dumbly-assumed) uniform Earth. We have water-phase-related, distribution-of-continents-related, & ice-orography-related interference in the real world. Insolation fields (these aren’t just time series – they’re spatiotemporal and so they shape advection) are related to AMO & ENSO. What will it take to get people to think clearly about SCL & SCD? A change in powers perhaps?

  44. oldbrew says:

    The BBC has jumped on this one but seems to have missed the vital point :
    ‘The researchers documented 18 abrupt climate events during the past 68,000 years’

    BBC headline: ‘Ice cores show 200-year climate lag’

    They are deliberately misleading readers into thinking events in Greenland are always 200 years ahead of the Antarctic, IMO.

    ‘Our new results show unambiguously that the Antarctic changes happen after the rapid temperature changes in Greenland. It is a major advance to know that the Earth behaves in this particular way.’

    They omit the part about ‘abrupt climate events’.