Research Articles

Late Glacial Stage and Holocene Tropical Ice Core Records from Huascarán, Peru

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Science  07 Jul 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5220, pp. 46-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5220.46


Two ice cores from the col of Huascarán in the north-central Andes of Peru contain a paleoclimatic history extending well into the Wisconsinan (Würm) Glacial Stage and include evidence of the Younger Dryas cool phase. Glacial stage conditions at high elevations in the tropics appear to have been as much as 8° to 12°C cooler than today, the atmosphere contained about 200 times as much dust, and the Amazon Basin forest cover may have been much less extensive. Differences in both the oxygen isotope ratio ζ18O (8 per mil) and the deuterium excess (4.5 per mil) from the Late Glacial Stage to the Holocene are comparable with polar ice core records. These data imply that the tropical Atlantic was possibly 5° to 6°C cooler during the Late Glacial Stage, that the climate was warmest from 8400 to 5200 years before present, and that it cooled gradually, culminating with the Little Ice Age (200 to 500 years before present). A strong warming has dominated the last two centuries.

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