Impact of ice sheet meltwater fluxes on the climate evolution at the onset of the Last Interglacial
Abstract. Large climate perturbations occurred during the transition between the penultimate glacial period and the Last Interglacial (Termination II), when the ice sheets retreated from their glacial configuration. Here we investigate the impact of ice sheet changes and associated freshwater fluxes on the climate evolution at the onset of the Last Interglacial. The period from 135 to 120 kyr BP is simulated with the Earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM v.1.3 with prescribed evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet, the Greenland ice sheet, and the other Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Variations in meltwater fluxes from the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets lead to North Atlantic temperature changes and modifications of the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. By means of the interhemispheric see-saw effect, variations in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation also give rise to temperature changes in the Southern Hemisphere, which are additionally modulated by the direct impact of Antarctic meltwater fluxes into the Southern Ocean. Freshwater fluxes from the melting Antarctic ice sheet lead to a millennial timescale oceanic cold event in the Southern Ocean with expanded sea ice as evidenced in some ocean sediment cores, which may be used to constrain the timing of ice sheet retreat.