Global climate evolution during the last deglaciation

Peter U. Clark, Jeremy D. Shakun, Paul A. Baker, Patrick J. Bartlein, Simon Brewer, Ed Brook, Anders E. Carlson, Hai Cheng, Darrell S. Kaufman, Zhengyu Liu, Thomas M. Marchitto, Alan C. Mix, Carrie Morrill, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Katharina Pahnke, James M. Russell, Cathy Whitlock, Jess F. Adkins, Jessica L. Blois, Jorie ClarkSteven M. Colman, William B. Curry, Ben P. Flower, Feng He, Thomas C. Johnson, Jean Lynch-Stieglitz, Vera Markgraf, Jerry McManus, Jerry X. Mitrovica, Patricio I. Moreno, John W. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

406 Scopus citations


Deciphering the evolution of global climate from the end of the Last Glacial Maximum approximately 19 ka to the early Holocene 11 ka presents an outstanding opportunity for understanding the transient response of Earth's climate system to external and internal forcings. During this interval of global warming, the decay of ice sheets caused global mean sea level to rise by approximately 80 m; terrestrial and marine ecosystems experienced large disturbances and range shifts; perturbations to the carbon cycle resulted in a net release of the greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere; and changes in atmosphere and ocean circulation affected the global distribution and fluxes of water and heat. Here we summarize a major effort by the paleoclimate research community to characterize these changes through the development of welldated, high-resolution records of the deep and intermediate ocean as well as surface climate. Our synthesis indicates that the super-position of two modes explains much of the variability in regional and global climate during the last deglaciation, with a strong association between the first mode and variations in greenhouse gases, and between the second mode and variations in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1134-E1142
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 8 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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