Past rates of climate change in the Arctic

James W.C. White, Richard B. Alley, Julie Brigham-Grette, Joan J. Fitzpatrick, Anne E. Jennings, Sigfus J. Johnsen, Gifford H. Miller, R. Steven Nerem, Leonid Polyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate is continually changing on numerous time scales, driven by a range of factors. In general, longer-lived changes are somewhat larger, but much slower to occur, than shorter-lived changes. Processes linked with continental drift have affected atmospheric circulation, oceanic currents, and the composition of the atmosphere over tens of millions of years. A global cooling trend over the last 60 million years has altered conditions near sea level in the Arctic from ice-free year-round to completely ice covered. Variations in arctic insolation over tens of thousands of years in response to orbital forcing have caused regular cycles of warming and cooling that were roughly half the size of the continental-drift-linked changes. This " glacial-interglacial" cycling was amplified by the reduced greenhouse gases in colder times and by greater surface albedo from more-extensive ice cover. Glacial-interglacial cycling was punctuated by abrupt millennial oscillations, which near the North Atlantic were roughly half as large as the glacial-interglacial cycles, but which were much smaller Arctic-wide and beyond. The current interglaciation, the Holocene, has been influenced by brief cooling events from single volcanic eruptions, slower but longer lasting changes from random fluctuations in the frequency of volcanic eruptions, from weak solar variability, and perhaps by other classes of events. Human-forced climate changes appear similar in size and duration to the fastest natural changes of the past, but future changes may have no natural analog.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1716-1727
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume29
Issue number15-16
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

Fingerprint

Arctic
continental drift
Arctic region
ice
climate change
cooling
interglacial
volcanic eruption
oceanic current
natural analog
atmospheric circulation
orbital forcing
glacial-interglacial cycle
event
greenhouse gases
insolation
ice cover
fluctuation
sea level
albedo

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

Cite this

White, J. W. C., Alley, R. B., Brigham-Grette, J., Fitzpatrick, J. J., Jennings, A. E., Johnsen, S. J., ... Polyak, L. (2010). Past rates of climate change in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29(15-16), 1716-1727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.04.025
White, James W.C. ; Alley, Richard B. ; Brigham-Grette, Julie ; Fitzpatrick, Joan J. ; Jennings, Anne E. ; Johnsen, Sigfus J. ; Miller, Gifford H. ; Steven Nerem, R. ; Polyak, Leonid. / Past rates of climate change in the Arctic. In: Quaternary Science Reviews. 2010 ; Vol. 29, No. 15-16. pp. 1716-1727.
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White, JWC, Alley, RB, Brigham-Grette, J, Fitzpatrick, JJ, Jennings, AE, Johnsen, SJ, Miller, GH, Steven Nerem, R & Polyak, L 2010, 'Past rates of climate change in the Arctic', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 29, no. 15-16, pp. 1716-1727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.04.025

Past rates of climate change in the Arctic. / White, James W.C.; Alley, Richard B.; Brigham-Grette, Julie; Fitzpatrick, Joan J.; Jennings, Anne E.; Johnsen, Sigfus J.; Miller, Gifford H.; Steven Nerem, R.; Polyak, Leonid.

In: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 29, No. 15-16, 01.07.2010, p. 1716-1727.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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White JWC, Alley RB, Brigham-Grette J, Fitzpatrick JJ, Jennings AE, Johnsen SJ et al. Past rates of climate change in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2010 Jul 1;29(15-16):1716-1727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.04.025