EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mechanisms behind ocean variability in transient simulations of the early deglaciation

Marie-Luise Kapsch1, Marlene Klockmann2, and Uwe Mikolajewicz1
Marie-Luise Kapsch et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Helmholtz Center HEREON, Geesthacht, Germany

The last deglaciation was accompanied by a gradual warming with superimposed abrupt climate changes. In transient simulations of the last deglaciation with the comprehensive Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) we show that the timing and occurrence of abrupt climate changes are highly dependent on the utilized ice-sheet boundary condition. Simulations with different ice-sheet reconstructions show that the variability of North Atlantic surface temperatures are dominated by the timing and amplitude of meltwater fluxes from ice sheets, as derived from reconstructions. While some abrupt climate events (e.g. the Younger Dryas) only occur under certain boundary conditions in the transient simulations, other climate events such as the Bølling Allerød warming (about 14.7-14.2 ka BP) cannot be simulated with any of the applied and widely used reconstructions. However, in a sensitivity experiment with changing ice sheets but no addition of meltwater into the ocean, the North Atlantic experiences a warming during the time of the Bølling-Allerød. This warming is associated with a reorganization of the ocean circulation and deep-water formation sites. Prior to this reorganization, during the glacial and early part of the deglaciation, a rather zonal jet stream maintains a strong subpolar gyre in the North Atlantic. In addition, salty and dense water masses form in the Arctic. Until about 16.5 ka BP the Arctic freshens significantly and the surface elevation over the Laurentide ice sheet reduces. The latter leads to a shift in the atmospheric circulation at around 14.2 ka BP. The resulting changes in wind stress strongly reduce the eastward extent of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre. Here, we examine the physical mechanisms behind the reorganization and explore additional simulations with fixed deglacial key parameters (e.g. CO2, insolation, ice sheets) to identify the key drivers of the climate changes during the early deglaciation and Bølling Allerød.

How to cite: Kapsch, M.-L., Klockmann, M., and Mikolajewicz, U.: Mechanisms behind ocean variability in transient simulations of the early deglaciation, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2679,, 2023.