One of the most dramatic climate change events observed in marine and ice core records is the Younger Dryas, a return to near-glacial conditions that punctuated the last deglaciation. High-resolution, continuous glaciochemical records, newly retrieved from central Greenland, record the chemical composition of the arctic atmosphere at this time. This record shows that both the onset and the termination of the Younger Dryas occurred within 10 to 20 years and that massive, frequent, and short-term (decadal or less) changes in atmospheric composition occurred throughout this event. Changes in atmospheric composition are attributable to changes in the size of the polar atmospheric cell and resultant changes in source regions and to the growth and decay of continental biogenic source regions.
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