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Tropical Climate at the Last Glacial Maximum Inferred from Glacier Mass-Balance Modeling

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Science  01 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5497, pp. 1747-1750
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5497.1747

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Abstract

Model-derived equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs) of former tropical glaciers support arguments, based on other paleoclimate data, for both the magnitude and spatial pattern of terrestrial cooling in the tropics at the last glacial maximum (LGM). Relative to the present, LGM ELAs were maintained by air temperatures that were 3.5° to 6.6°C lower and precipitation that ranged from 63% wetter in Hawaii to 25% drier on Mt. Kenya, Africa. Our results imply the need for a ∼3°C cooling of LGM sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific warm pool. Sensitivity tests suggest that LGM ELAs could have persisted until 16,000 years before the present in the Peruvian Andes and on Papua, New Guinea.

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