Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Clim. Past, 7, 221–234, 2011
Clim. Past, 7, 221–234, 2011

Research article 08 Mar 2011

Research article | 08 Mar 2011

North Atlantic abrupt climatic events of the last glacial period recorded in Ukrainian loess deposits

D.-D. Rousseau2,1, P. Antoine3, N. Gerasimenko5,4, A. Sima1, M. Fuchs6, C. Hatté7, O. Moine3, and L. Zoeller6 D.-D. Rousseau et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, UMR INSU-CNRS 8539, and CERES-ERTI, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris cedex 5, France
  • 2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
  • 3Laboratoire de Géographie physique, UMR 8591 CNRS-Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, 1 place Aristide Briand, 92195 Meudon cedex, France
  • 4Institute of Geography of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Volodymyrska 44, Kyiv 01034, Ukraine
  • 5Earth Sciences and Geomorphology Department, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Glushkova 2, Kyiv, DSP 680, Ukraine
  • 6Chair of Geomorphology, University of Bayreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
  • 7Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR CEA-CNRS-UVSQ 8212, Domaine du CNRS, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Abstract. Loess deposits are widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere, where they have recorded not only the glacial-interglacial cycles, but also millennial-timescale changes resembling those in marine and ice cores. Such abrupt variations are clearly marked in western European series, but have not yet been evidenced in the East of the continent. Here we present results of the high-resolution investigation of a Weichselian Upper Pleniglacial loess sequence (~38–15 ka) from Stayky, Ukraine. The stratigraphy shows an alternation of loess horizons and embryonic soils, similar to sequences from western Europe. Similarities are also found between variations of a grain-size index (ratio between coarse and fine material fractions) in Stayky and in western European profiles. Based on these similarities and in agreement with the luminescence dates, the embryonic soils are associated with the Greenland interstadials (GIS) 7 to 2, and the Vytachiv paleosol at the base of the sequence, with GIS 8. Pollen analysis indicates a wetter climate for these interstadials, allowing the development of arboreal vegetation, than for the stadials, which are marked by loess formation. The grain-size index reaches the highest values for intervals correlated with the Heinrich events 3 and 2. Thus, it appears that the North Atlantic abrupt climate changes have extended their influence and modulated the loess sedimentation at least as far as eastern Europe. This result is supported by recent climate modeling experiments and recommends the Stayky sequence as a reference for further comparisons between profiles along the Eurasian loess belt centered at 50° N.