Nature Unbound III: Holocene climate variability (Part A)

by Javier, April 30, 2017 in ClimateEtc.

First in a two part series on Holocene climate variability.

Summary: Holocene climate is characterized by two initial millennia of fast warming followed by four millennia of higher temperatures and humidity, and a progressively accelerating cooling and drying for the past six millennia. These changes are driven by variations in the obliquity of the Earth’s axis. The four millennia of warmer temperatures are called the Holocene Climatic Optimum which was 1-2°C warmer than the Little Ice Age. This climatic optimum was when global glaciers reached their minimum extent. The Mid-Holocene Transition, caused by orbital variations, brought a change in climatic mode, from solar to oceanic dominated forcing. This transition displaced the climatic equator, ended the African Humid Period and increased El Niño activity.



Figure 36. Holocene temperature profile. A. Summer (July-August) Central England temperature reconstruction from multiple proxies and sources by H. H. Lamb.Crosses represent dating and temperature uncertainty. Black dots are centennial averages. Red dot is 1900-1965 average. Source: Lamb, H.H. 1977. Climate: Present, past and future. Volume 2. B. Greenland temperature reconstruction based on an average of uplift corrected δ18O isotopic data from Agassiz and Renland ice cores. This average has been corrected for changes in the δ18O of seawater and calibrated to borehole temperature records. Some historical periods are indicated. Source: B. Vinther et al., 2009.