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Journal Article

Insolation evolution and ice volume legacies determine interglacial and glacial intensity


Mitsui,  Takahito
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Tzedakis,  Polychronis C.
External Organizations;

Wolff,  Eric W.
External Organizations;

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Mitsui, T., Tzedakis, P. C., Wolff, E. W. (2022): Insolation evolution and ice volume legacies determine interglacial and glacial intensity. - Climate of the Past, 18, 9, 1983-1996.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_27386
Interglacials and glacials represent low and high ice volume end-members of ice age cycles. While progress has been made in our understanding of how and when transitions between these states occur, their relative intensity has been lacking an explanatory framework. With a simple quantitative model, we show that over the last 800 000 years interglacial intensity can be described as a function of the strength of the previous glacial and the summer insolation at high latitudes in both hemispheres during the deglaciation. Since the precession components in the boreal and austral insolations counteract each other, the amplitude increase in obliquity cycles after 430 000 years ago is imprinted in interglacial intensities, contributing to the manifestation of the so-called Mid-Brunhes Event. Glacial intensity is also linked to the strength of the previous interglacial, the time elapsed from it, and the evolution of boreal summer insolation. Our results suggest that the memory of previous climate states and the time course of the insolation are crucial for understanding interglacial and glacial intensities.