Spiky fluctuations and scaling in high-resolution EPICA ice core dust fluxes

Lovejoy S.; Lambert F.


Atmospheric variability as a function of scale has been divided in various dynamical regimes with alternating increasing and decreasing fluctuations: weather, macroweather, climate, macroclimate, and megaclimate. Although a vast amount of data are available at small scales, the larger picture is not well constrained due to the scarcity and low resolution of long paleoclimatic time series. Using statistical techniques originally developed for the study of turbulence, we analyse the fluctuations of a centimetric-resolution dust flux time series from the EPICA Dome C ice core in Antarctica that spans the past 800 000 years. The temporal resolution ranges from annual at the top of the core to 25 years at the bottom, enabling the detailed statistical analysis and comparison of eight glaciation cycles and the subdivision of each cycle into eight consecutive phases. The unique span and resolution of the dataset allows us to analyse the macroweather and climate scales in detail. We find that the interglacial and glacial maximum phases of each cycle showed particularly large macroweather to climate transition scale tau(c) (around 2 kyr), whereas mid-glacial phases feature centennial transition scales (average of 300 years). This suggests that interglacials and glacial maxima are exceptionally stable when compared with the rest of a glacial cycle. The Holocene (with tau(c) approximate to 7.9 kyr) had a particularly large tau(c), but it was not an outlier when compared with the phases 1 and 2 of other cycles. We hypothesize that dust variability at larger (climate) scales appears to be predominantly driven by slow changes in glaciers and vegetation cover, whereas at small (macroweather) scales atmospheric processes and changes in the hydrological cycles are the main drivers. For each phase, we quantified the drift, intermittency, amplitude, and extremeness of the variability. Phases close to the interglacials (1, 2, 8) show low drift, moderate intermittency, and strong extremes, while the "glacial" middle phases 3-7 display strong drift, weak intermittency, and weaker extremes. In other words, our results suggest that glacial maxima, interglacials, and glacial inceptions were characterized by relatively stable atmospheric conditions but punctuated by frequent and severe droughts, whereas the mid-glacial climate was inherently more unstable.

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Título según WOS: Spiky fluctuations and scaling in high-resolution EPICA ice core dust fluxes
Título según SCOPUS: Spiky fluctuations and scaling in high-resolution EPICA ice core dust fluxes
Título de la Revista: CLIMATE OF THE PAST
Volumen: 15
Número: 6
Editorial: Copernicus Gesellschaft mbH
Fecha de publicación: 2019
Página de inicio: 1999
Página final: 2017
Idioma: English