Archives par mot-clé : D-O Events

Cycles of Rapid Climate Warming

by Jim Steele, May 28, 2018 in WUWT


The globally averaged temperature rose 1.5°F from 1880 to today. Various narratives suggest the rise since 1950 was driven by increasing concentrations of CO2. The rising temperature before 1950 was considered natural. Since 1990, Arctic temperatures rose 2 to 3 times faster than the global average. So, are rapidly rising Arctic temperatures evidence of an impending climate crisis?

Astute students of climate history recall rapid Arctic warming has happened often and naturally. During the last Ice Age when CO2 concentrations were just half of today’s, 25 abrupt warming events happened. Arctic temperatures rose 9°F, and sometimes as much as 14°F in just 40 years. These rapid warming episodes are now called Dansgaard–Oeschger events (D-O events) in honor of the researchers who first detected them in Greenland’s ice cores. These D-O episodes affected global climate, changed ocean currents along California’s coast and altered the range of European forests.

What caused such abrupt warming? Basic physics dismisses changes in greenhouse gases or solar insolation because neither radiative effect induces such rapid warming. The most reasonable explanation suggests episodes of ventilating heat, that had accumulated in the Arctic Ocean, rapidly warmed the air.