Response of precipitation over Greenland and the adjacent ocean
to North Pacific warm spells during Dansgaard-Oeschger stadials.

Kiefer, T., Lorenz, S., Schulz, M., Lohmann, G., Sarnthein, M., and Elderfield, H., 2002: Terra Nova, Volume 14, 4, 295-300.





Paleoceanographic reconstructions from the North Atlantic indicate massive ice breakouts from East Greenland near the onset of cold Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) stadials. In contrast to these coolings in the North Atlantic area, a new sea-surface temperature record reveals concomitant warm spells in the northern North Pacific. A sensitivity experiment with an atmospheric general circulation model is used to test the potential impact of sea-surface warmings by 3.5C in the North Pacific, on top of otherwise cold stadial climate conditions, on the precipitation regime over the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. The model predicts a maximum response over East Greenland and the Greenland Sea, where a 40% increase in net annual snow accumulation occurs. This remote effect of North Pacific warm spells on the East Greenland snow-accumulation rate may play an important role in generating D-O cycles by rebuilding the ice lost during ice breakouts. In addition, the increased precipitation over the Greenland Sea may help to sustain the D-O stadial climate state.


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Thorsten Kiefer1, Stephan Lorenz2, Michael Schulz1,3, Gerrit Lohmann3,4, Michael Sarnthein1, and Henry Elderfield5  

1 Institut f?r Geowissenschaften, Universit?t Kiel, Kiel, Germany  

2 Max-Planck Institut f?r Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany  

3 Meteorologisches Institut, Universit?t Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany  

4 Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Universit?t Bremen, Bremen, Germany  

5 Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom