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High-frequency climate variability in the Holocene from a coastal-dome ice core in east-central Greenland

Hughes, Abigail G. and Jones, Tyler R. and Vinther, Bo M. and Gkinis, Vasileios and Stevens, C. Max and Morris, Valerie and Vaughn, Bruce H. and Holme, Christian and Markle, Bradley R. and White, James W. C. (2020) High-frequency climate variability in the Holocene from a coastal-dome ice core in east-central Greenland. Climate of the Past, 16 (4). pp. 1369-1386. ISSN 1814-9332.

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An ice core drilled on the Renland ice cap in east-central Greenland contains a continuous climate record dating through the last glacial period. The Renland record is valuable because the coastal environment is more likely to reflect regional sea surface conditions compared to inland Greenland ice cores that capture synoptic variability. Here we present the δ¹⁸O water isotope record for the Holocene, in which decadal-scale climate information is retained for the last 8 kyr, while the annual water isotope signal is preserved throughout the last 2.6 kyr. To investigate regional climate information preserved in the water isotope record, we apply spectral analysis techniques to a 300-year moving window to determine the mean strength of varying frequency bands through time. We find that the strength of 15–20-year δ¹⁸O variability exhibits a millennial-scale signal in line with the well-known Bond events. Comparison to other North Atlantic proxy records suggests that the 15–20-year variability may reflect fluctuating sea surface conditions throughout the Holocene, driven by changes in the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Additional analysis of the seasonal signal over the last 2.6 kyr reveals that the winter δ¹⁸O signal has experienced a decreasing trend, while the summer signal has predominantly remained stable. The winter trend may correspond to an increase in Arctic sea ice cover, which is driven by a decrease in total annual insolation, and is also likely influenced by regional climate variables such as atmospheric and oceanic circulation. In the context of anthropogenic climate change, the winter trend may have important implications for feedback processes as sea ice retreats in the Arctic.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Hughes, Abigail G.0000-0002-2776-7274
Gkinis, Vasileios0000-0002-5910-1549
Stevens, C. Max0000-0003-2005-0876
Vaughn, Bruce H.0000-0001-6503-957X
Holme, Christian0000-0003-2155-489X
Additional Information:© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union. Received: 11 Feb 2020 – Discussion started: 24 Feb 2020 – Accepted: 06 Jun 2020 – Published: 31 Jul 2020. The RECAP ice coring effort was financed by the Danish Research Council through a Sapere Aude grant, the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Division of Polar Programs, the Alfred Wegener Institute, and the European Research Council under the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) through the Ice2Ice project and the Early Human Impact project (267696). The authors acknowledge the support of the Danish National Research Foundation through the Physics of Ice, Climate, and Earth at the Niels Bohr Institute (Copenhagen, Denmark). Abigail Hughes also acknowledges support from the NSF through the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Geosciences (grant no. DGE 1650115). Data availability: Holocene δ¹⁸O data through 10 kyr will be made available on the PANGAEA data archive (, Gkinis et al., 2020). Additionally, the δ18O record through 2 kyr, including raw, diffusion corrected, and peak detection results, will be submitted to the Iso2k database for public use in further analysis. Author contributions: AGH and TRJ contributed to all aspects of this paper. AGH, TRJ, VG, BMV, VM, BHV, and CH contributed to processing of the RECAP ice core data. BMV developed diffusion-correction code, adapted by TRJ for this study. CMS provided Community Firn Model output. BRM provided insolation modeling. TRJ, AGH, and JWCW developed and implemented analysis techniques. TRJ developed the extrema (summer, winter) picking algorithm. AGH wrote the article with significant editorial contributions from TRJ and comments from all authors. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Review statement: This paper was edited by Elizabeth Thomas and reviewed by two anonymous referees.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Danish Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Alfred Wegener InstituteUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)267696
Danish National Research FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DGE-1650115
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200831-103026258
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Official Citation:Hughes, A. G., Jones, T. R., Vinther, B. M., Gkinis, V., Stevens, C. M., Morris, V., Vaughn, B. H., Holme, C., Markle, B. R., and White, J. W. C.: High-frequency climate variability in the Holocene from a coastal-dome ice core in east-central Greenland, Clim. Past, 16, 1369–1386,, 2020
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105164
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Sep 2020 18:51
Last Modified:08 Sep 2020 18:51

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