Annually resolved North Atlantic marine climate over the last millenium

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  • James Scourse
  • D.J. Reynolds
    Cardiff University
  • Paul Halloran
    University of Exeter
  • Alexandra Nederbragt
    Cardiff University
  • Alan Wanamaker
    Iowa State University
  • Paul Butler
  • Christopher Richardson
  • Jan Heinemeier
    Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Jon Eiriksson
    University of Iceland
  • Karen Luise Knudsen
    Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Ian Hall
    Cardiff University
Due to the lack of absolutely-dated oceanographic information prior to the modern instrumental period, there is currently significant debate as to the role played by North Atlantic Ocean dynamics in previous climate transitions (e.g., Medieval Climate Anomaly-Little Ice Age, MCA-LIA). Here we present analyses of the first millennial-length, annually-resolved and absolutely-dated marine 18O archive. We interpret our record of oxygen isotope ratios from the shells of the long-lived marine bivalve Arctica islandica (18O-shell), from the North Icelandic Shelf in relation to seawater density variability and demonstrate that solar and volcanic forcing coupled with ocean circulation dynamics are key drivers of climate variability over the last millennium. During the pre-industrial period (AD 1000-1800) variability in the sub-polar North Atlantic leads changes in Northern Hemisphere surface air temperatures at multi- decadal timescales indicating that North Atlantic Ocean dynamics played an active role in modulating the response of the atmosphere to solar and volcanic forcing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13502
JournalNature Communications
Early online date6 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2016

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