Brøgger Seminar Series – Meltwater, Icebergs, and Past Abrupt Climate Change

by Alan Condron , Climate System Research Center,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

When? Friday 18 October, 13.15–14.15
Where? De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus


Many periods of Abrupt Climate change during the last deglaciation began with a catastrophic meltwater flood to the North Atlantic (e.g. Younger Dryas, 8.2-kyr-event). Yet, no obvious connection between the volume of freshwater released to the ocean and the severity of the cooling seems to exist. Here I present results from a series of very high-resolution ocean model simulations to show that considerable volumes of freshwater would have been transported to the subtropical (not the subpolar) North Atlantic during periods of meltwater and iceberg discharge. Our model pathway is supported by the discovery that 300 m thick icebergs once drifted to southern Florida. In the second part of this talk I use the same high resolution model to determine the location of the meltwater flood that triggered the Younger Dryas cold episode ~13,000 years ago. I conclude that the impact of freshwater forcing on climate is greatly influenced by the drainage route to the ocean and the subsequent transport of meltwater in the ocean by narrow coastal boundary currents.

Co-sponsored by the:
Bolin Centre for Climate Research
A cooperation between Stockholm University, SMHI and KTH 


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