Comparing Contemporary Abrupt Arctic Climate Change to Paleoclimate Dansgaard-Oeschger Oscillations

Comparing Contemporary Abrupt Arctic Climate Change to Paleoclimate Dansgaard-Oeschger Oscillations // Aug 21, 2020

The ongoing rapid destruction of Arctic sea-ice is having profound effects on our overall climate system, and will soon likely reduce our ability to grow food. I chat on the latest science comparing our present day (contemporary) abrupt Arctic climate change to abrupt changes in past Arctic paleorecords captured in Greenland Ice Cores, namely rapid warming during the Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) Oscillations.

Arctic warming over 1 degree C per decade is considered to be abrupt, and values 2.5x that occur in some regions now and in the past.

Ref: Past perspectives on the present era of abrupt Arctic climate change, Published: 29 July 2020.  Jansen, Hesselbjerg Christensen, Dokken, Nisancioglu,
Nature Climate Change volume 10, pages, 714–721. 2020:

Abstract:  ‘Abrupt climate change is a striking feature of many climate records, particularly the warming events in Greenland ice cores. These abrupt and high-amplitude events were tightly coupled to rapid sea-ice retreat in the North Atlantic and Nordic Seas, and observational evidence shows they had global repercussions. In the present-day Arctic, sea-ice loss is also key to ongoing warming.

‘This Perspective uses observations and climate models to place contemporary Arctic change into the context of past abrupt Greenland warmings. We find that warming rates similar to or higher than modern trends have only occurred during past abrupt glacial episodes. We argue that the Arctic is currently experiencing an abrupt climate change event, and that climate models underestimate this ongoing warming‘.

Ref2:  Currently, downloadable, PDF of same as above.
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Abrupt Arctic Climate Change: Comparison of Today with Paleoclimate: Change Rates and Distribution // Aug 21, 2020

During the last glacial period from 120,000 to 11,000 years ago, there were over 20 abrupt periods of rapid warming (D-O Oscillations) exceeding 1 degree C per decade warming recorded in the North Greenland Ice Project (NGRIP) cores.

I continue to chat about the latest science comparing both the rates of change of warming as well as the spatial distribution of the warming between these D-O events and present day (contemporary) Arctic warming. In the paleoclimate D-O warming events, large Greenland ice sheet melting was preceded by extensive loss of Arctic sea ice; a pattern that we are expecting to experience again.
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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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