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Climate During and Since the Last Deglaciation

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Presentation on theme: "Climate During and Since the Last Deglaciation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate During and Since the Last Deglaciation
Chapter 13 Climate During and Since the Last Deglaciation David Apostalon, Ines Cobeljic, Zak Mohamoud, Jeremy Shaw, Merhawi Zerai

2 Chapter Overview History & Causes of Deglaciation
Effects of Deglaciation Glacial lakes & floods Milankovitch Theory Sea level rise Climate records Tropical monsoons Deglacial two-step Changes in vegetation The Younger Dryas Seasonal temperature variations Deglacial feedbacks Current & Future Climate Insolation predictions Another glaciation? Agricultural humans

3 History of Deglaciation
What is deglaciation? 2.75 million years of Ice Age Shifts between glacial and interglacial periods ABLATION: rate of ice loss

4 History of Deglaciation
Causes of ablation Solar radiation Conduction of heat by air or rain Calving

5 History of Deglaciation
Milankovitch Theory Proposed by Milutin Milanković Summer insolation controls glaciation Snow & ice accumulate during winter But...warm summers will melt ice summers required to maintain ice each year Glaciation occurs during low summer insolation at northern latitudes Deglaciation occurs during high summer insolation at northern latitudes

6 History of Deglaciation
What is insolation? INSOLATION: incident incoming solar radiation (W/m²) ...or... Arriving solar radiation per unit area

7 History of Deglaciation
Insolation affects temperature

8 History of Deglaciation
Insolation levels change over time Determined by cycles of Earth’s precession, tilt, and eccentricity

9 History of Deglaciation
Summer insolation maximum Changes in Earth’s tilt and precession caused a summer insolatin maximum at northern latitudes ~10,000 years ago Insolation rises... deglaciation begins

10 History of Deglaciation
Shifting climate forces Glaciers melt Insolation increases CO₂ levels increase from 190 to 280 ppm CH₄ levels double Balance of power shifts Melting of glaciers accelerates

11 History of Deglaciation
Coral reefs: climate records of deglaciation We can measure the rate of deglaciation by indirect means using coral reef data Coral reefs grow in shallow waters As sea levels rise, corals die We can date ancient corals to determine ancient sea levels Sea level changes can be converted to ice volume 1 meter of sea level = 400,000 km³ of ice Sea level rises, old coral dies

12 History of Deglaciation
Coral reefs: climate records of deglaciation This data gives us a rate of deglaciation by measuring changes in ancient sea levels using radiocarbon and thorium/uranium dating. 2,000-3,500 year discrepancy...?

13 History of Deglaciation
Why the discrepancy? ¹⁴C ages are younger than Th/U ages Th/U ages are more accurate when compared to tree ring data ¹⁴C ages are too young!

14 History of Deglaciation
¹⁴Carbon Dating ¹⁴C production in atmosphere varies Cosmic rays convert ¹⁴N into radioactive ¹⁴C Weaker magnetic fields = more ¹⁴C Based on half-life (decay) of ¹⁴C more ¹⁴C = less time has elapsed But....extra ¹⁴C causes appearance of less elapsed time

15 History of Deglaciation
THE DEGLACIAL TIME PERIOD North American ice sheet began to retreat 15,000 14C years ago Reached a midpoint ~10,000 14C years ago Ended ~6,000 14C years ago. Timeline is supported by Radiocarbon dating of material found in, under, or atop moraines deposited by the ice Smaller Scandinavian ice sheet began retreating at the same time, but disappeared a few thousand years earlier

History of Deglaciation TIMING OF ICE SHEET MELTING N. American ice sheets began retreating 14,000 14C years ago and was gone by 6,000 14C years ago. To convert area covered by retreating ice to ice volume (thickness x area = volume). The thickness of the ice is debatable because it can be effected by the conditions in its basal layer.

History of Deglaciation THE DEGLACIAL RISE IN SEA LEVEL Larger glaciers = more melt water Generally consistent with Milankovitch theory Rates of sea level rise changed dramatically Based on coral reef data Deglacial Two-Step Rapid rise from 20K to 14K years ago Slow from 14-12K years More rapid rise after 12K years

18 History of Deglaciation
The Deglacial Two-Step pattern points to more complex accelerations and decelerations in melting rates. Two major influxes of freshwater into oceans due to melting glaciers. The rates of ice melting were at least four to five times faster during the earlier and later intervals.

19 History of Deglaciation
AN EARLY RAPID MELTING OF ICE SHEET! A pulse of unusually negative d18O values early in deglaciation. measured in planktic formanifera The flux in d18O is result of early melting of nearby Barents ice sheet, north of Scandinavia. A low- d18O pulse found in cores from the Gulf of Mexico indicates a short-term increase in meltwater down the Mississippi River from N. American ice sheet.

20 History of Deglaciation
Climate records of Younger Dryas event All three graphs have correlating time Younger Dryas

21 History of Deglaciation
The Younger Dryas Northern Hemisphere unexpectedly returned to near-glacial conditions. Interruption in general deglacial warming An Artic plant called Dryas reached Europe Reversal toward Artic vegetation Evidence comes from pollen records

22 History of Deglaciation
Last Glacial Maximum Polar water reached southward across the North Atlantic (45 N°) southern margin defined by polar front, area of fast transition to more temperate waters to south 15,000 years ago (early deglaciation) polar front shifted northwest to point close to eastern Canada warm water began to flow northward along European coast to moderate climate moderate climate allowed trees to advance northward from prior full-glacial spot in far-southern Europe

23 History of Deglaciation
13,000 years ago - 11,700 years ago (Younger Dryas period) polar front suddenly shifts back to the south almost reaches glacial position North Atlantic Ocean cools, and Artic vegetation (Dryas) return to northern Europe 11,700 years ago polar front quickly retreats north, and forest begin final push into north-central Europe

24 Why the Younger Dryas oscillation?
History of Deglaciation Why the Younger Dryas oscillation? Wally Broecker (geochemist) lower N. Atlantic surface density prevented formation of deep water criticized because the factor of global melting rate was slowing during Younger Dryas The cause of the Younger Dryas remains a mystery

25 History of Deglaciation
Feedbacks Positive feedbacks accelerated loss of ice Between 17,000 and 14,000 years ago spikes in sea level rise caused by ice melting Increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases Ice sheets melted and CO₂ and methane levels increased at nearly the same time Increases in these greenhouse gases caused warming and more melting of ice

26 Effects of Deglaciation
Proglacial Lakes proglacial lakes develop in bedrock depressions left by melting ice sheets. over time lakes move north behind the ice sheets,while the land farther south rebounds toward its undepressed elevation.

27 Effects of Deglaciation
Lake Agassiz Largest pro-glacial lake in north America. covered more than 200,000 km2, at depths of 100 m or more.

28 Effects of Deglaciation
A) Missoula flood deposits. B) ripples in the land, too large to be seen on the ground.

29 Effects of Deglaciation
flooding of coastlines Large-scale change on the earths surface by deglacial rise of sea level.

30 Increased insolation produced Monsoons
Effects of Deglaciation Increased insolation produced Monsoons Stronger summer monsoons near 10,000 years ago due to earth's configuration. summer insolation were 8% higher than today in N. Hemisphere Kutzbach Orbital Monsoon model simulations supported by geological observations. Lake levels higher in: - Arabia -North Africa - Southeastern Asia

31 Effects of Deglaciation
Timing 14C dates for lake deposits in N. Africa Match the 10K insolation maximum When corrected for greater 14C production

32 Effects of Deglaciation
Upwelling in the Arabian Sea Strong Monsoon winds blowing across Somalia and eastern Arabia Enhanced Coastal upwelling altering the planktic foraminifera Species Upwelling in Arabian Sea happened 9,000 years ago

33 Effects of Deglaciation
Climate evidence Evidence for wet climate range from: Large dry river valleys in deserts fossil evidence includes: Grass pollen in lake deposits Variety of water loving animals

34 Effects of Deglaciation
Shifts in Vegetation Strong summer insolation led to a northward shift from glaciers. Oaks (warm vegetation) transition from southeast US to Mid Atlantic State Spruce (Cold Vegetation) transition from Central US to Northeastern Canada Models versus Observed data, Spruce and Oak

35 Effects of Deglaciation
No Analog Vegetation No record of such vegetation in modern times Caused by difference change in temperature and environmental variables Specific spruce tree can’t be found at Midwest US From Individual pollen record

36 Vegetation-moisture feedback
Effects of Deglaciation Vegetation-moisture feedback High summer insolation peaked at about 9,000 years ago. Wetter soils and increased vegetation provided positive feedback, bringing more moisture farther into the continent of Africa.

37 insolation reduced monsoons
Effects of Deglaciation insolation reduced monsoons decreased summer insolation expected to weaken summer monsoons Lake levels in N. Africa match well expected patterns.

38 Effects of Deglaciation
Peak Warmth with atmospheric CO2 levels steady and high, glacial ice largely melted. summer insolation and vegetation changed changes affected temperatures. insolation 5 percent higher warmed higher latitudes. displacement of high-albedo tundra by low-albedo spruce caused positive feedback.

39 Effects of Deglaciation
Cooling Down 6,000 Years earth tilt and precession motion move Northern Hemisphere toward Aphelion position 5% decrease overall Tundra move southward replacing forest

40 Evidence for cooling summer Insolation
Effects of Deglaciation Evidence for cooling summer Insolation Ice cap record from ice cores shows summer melting before 5,000 years ago Greenland diatoms from sea-ice were less before 5,000 years ago Glacier margin reappear 3,500 despite glacial margin significantly melted before 3,500 years Greatly affect diatom species that’s sensitive to temperature (great change in Norway’s southwest coast)

41 Current and Future Climate
Where will we be 10,000 years from now, climatically speaking? Let’s begin by looking exclusively at astronomical indications (via Milankovic Theory): The future according to axial tilt Dominant effect on higher latitudes Diminishing tilt with time => reduced seasonality => reduced insolation at the higher latitudes The future according to general precession Dominant effect on low latitudes (and the global average) Northern summer solstice will take place at perihelion 10,000 yrs from now; implies greater insolation at the northern tropics and stronger monsoons

42 Current and Future Climate
The current interglacial period: is global cooling long overdue? All records of the past indicate that glaciation should be well underway by now Future models indicate only further heating over the next 50,000 yrs Agricultural humans: the turning point? Our video presentation of this last leg – Placing these projections in the context of changing axial tilt, precession, eccentricity, and so on! Please see:

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