Subtropical North Atlantic Temperatures 60,000 to 30,000 Years Ago

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Science  22 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5440, pp. 756-759
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5440.756

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A reconstruction of sea surface temperature based on alkenone unsaturation ratios in sediments of the Bermuda Rise provides a detailed record of subtropical climate from 60,000 to 30,000 years ago. Northern Sargasso Sea temperatures changed repeatedly by 2° to 5°C, covarying with high-latitude temperatures that were previously inferred from Greenland ice cores. The largest temperature increases were comparable in magnitude to the full glacial-Holocene warming at the site. Abrupt cold reversals of 3° to 5°C, lasting less than 250 years, occurred during the onset of two such events (Greenland interstadials 8 and 12), suggesting that the largest, most rapid warmings were especially unstable.

  • * Present address: Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College, Columbia University, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA.

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