800,000 Years of Abrupt Climate Variability

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Science  08 Sep 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203580


We construct an 800-kyr synthetic record of Greenland climate variability based on the thermal bipolar seesaw model. Our Greenland analog reproduces much of the variability seen in the Greenland ice cores over the last 100 kyr. We also find a strong similarity with the absolutely dated speleothem record from China, allowing us to place ice-core records within an absolute time frame for the last 400 kyr. The synthetic record provides both a stratigraphic reference and a conceptual basis for assessing the long-term evolution of millennial-scale variability and its potential role in longer-time-scale climate change. Indeed, we provide evidence for a ubiquitous association between bipolar seesaw oscillations and glacial terminations throughout the Middle to Late Pleistocene.