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Does a difference in ice sheets between Marine Isotope Stages 3 and 5a affect the duration of stadials? Implications from hosing experiments


Sherriff-Tadano,  Sam
External Organizations;

Abe-Ouchi,  Ayako
External Organizations;

Oka,  Akira
External Organizations;


Mitsui,  Takahito
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Saito,  Fuyuki
External Organizations;

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Sherriff-Tadano, S., Abe-Ouchi, A., Oka, A., Mitsui, T., Saito, F. (2021): Does a difference in ice sheets between Marine Isotope Stages 3 and 5a affect the duration of stadials? Implications from hosing experiments. - Climate of the Past, 17, 5, 1919-1936.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25944
Glacial periods undergo frequent climate shifts between warm interstadials and cold stadials on a millennial timescale. Recent studies show that the duration of these climate modes varies with the background climate; a colder background climate and lower CO2 generally result in a shorter interstadial and a longer stadial through its impact on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). However, the duration of stadials is shorter during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3) than during MIS5, despite the colder climate in MIS3, suggesting potential control from other climate factors on the duration of stadials. In this study, we investigate the role of glacial ice sheets. For this purpose, freshwater hosing experiments are conducted with an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model under MIS5a and MIS3 boundary conditions, as well as MIS3 boundary conditions with MIS5a ice sheets. The impact of ice sheet differences on the duration of the stadials is evaluated by comparing recovery times of the AMOC after the freshwater forcing is stopped. These experiments show a slightly shorter recovery time of the AMOC during MIS3 compared with MIS5a, which is consistent with ice core data. We find that larger glacial ice sheets in MIS3 shorten the recovery time. Sensitivity experiments show that stronger surface winds over the North Atlantic shorten the recovery time by increasing the surface salinity and decreasing the sea ice amount in the deepwater formation region, which sets favorable conditions for oceanic convection. In contrast, we also find that surface cooling by larger ice sheets tends to increase the recovery time of the AMOC by increasing the sea ice thickness over the deepwater formation region. Thus, this study suggests that the larger ice sheet during MIS3 compared with MIS5a could have contributed to the shortening of stadials in MIS3, despite the climate being colder than that of MIS5a, because surface wind plays a larger role.