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NALPS: a precisely dated European climate record 120–60 ka

Author(s): R. Boch | H. Cheng | C. Spötl | R. L. Edwards | X. Wang | Ph. Häuselmann

Journal: Climate of the Past Discussions
ISSN 1814-9340

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1049;
Date: 2011;
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Accurate and precise chronologies are essential in understanding the rapid and recurrent climate variations of the Last Glacial – known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events – found in the Greenland ice cores and other climate archives. The existing chronological uncertainties during the Last Glacial, however, are still large. Radiometric age data and stable isotopic signals from speleothems are promising to improve the absolute chronology. We present a record of several precisely dated stalagmites from caves located at the northern rim of the Alps (NALPS), a region that favours comparison with the climate in Greenland. The record covers most of the interval from 120 to 60 ka at an average temporal resolution of 2 to 22 a and 2 σ-age uncertainties of ca. 200 to 500 a. The rapid and large oxygen isotope shifts of 1 to 4.5‰ occurred within decades to centuries and strongly mimic the Greenland D-O pattern. Compared to the current Greenland ice-core timescale the NALPS record suggests overall younger ages of rapid warming and cooling transitions between 120 to 60 ka. In particular, there is a discrepancy in the duration of stadial 22 between the ice-core and the stalagmite chronology (ca. 3000 vs. 3650 a). The short-lived D-O events 18 and 18.1 are not recorded in NALPS, provoking questions with regard to the nature and the regional expression of these events. NALPS resolves recurrent short-lived climate changes within the cold Greenland stadial (GS) and warm interstadial (GI) successions, i.e. abrupt warming events preceding GI 21 and 23 (precursor-type events) and at the end of GI 21 and 25 (rebound-type events), as well as intermittent cooling events during GI 22 and 24. Such superimposed Last Glacial events have not been documented in Europe before.
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