Centennial-scale climate cooling with a sudden cold event around 8,200 years ago

Nature. 2005 Apr 21;434(7036):975-9. doi: 10.1038/nature03421.


The extent of climate variability during the current interglacial period, the Holocene, is still debated. Temperature records derived from central Greenland ice cores show one significant temperature anomaly between 8,200 and 8,100 years ago, which is often attributed to a meltwater outflow into the North Atlantic Ocean and a slowdown of North Atlantic Deep Water formation--this anomaly provides an opportunity to study such processes with relevance to present-day freshening of the North Atlantic. Anomalies in climate proxy records from locations around the globe are often correlated with this sharp event in Greenland. But the anomalies in many of these records span 400 to 600 years, start from about 8,600 years ago and form part of a repeating pattern within the Holocene. More sudden climate changes around 8,200 years ago appear superimposed on this longer-term cooling. The compounded nature of the signals implies that far-field climate anomalies around 8,200 years ago cannot be used in a straightforward manner to assess the impact of a slowdown of North Atlantic Deep Water formation, and the geographical extent of the rapid cooling event 8,200 years ago remains to be determined.