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Linking glacial-interglacial states to multiple equilibria of climate

Ferreira, D. ORCID:, Marshall, J., Ito, T. and McGee, D. (2018) Linking glacial-interglacial states to multiple equilibria of climate. Geophysical Research Letters, 45 (17). pp. 9160-9170. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2018GL077019


Glacial-Interglacial cycles are often described as an amplified global response of the climate to perturbations in solar radiation caused by oscillations of Earth's orbit. However, it remains unclear whether internal feedbacks are large enough to account for the radically different Glacial and Interglacial states. Here we provide support for an alternative view: Glacial-Interglacial states are multiple equilibria of the climate system which exist for the same external forcing. We show that such multiple equilibria resembling Glacial and Interglacial states can be found in a complex coupled General Circulation Model of the ocean-atmosphere-sea ice system. The multiple states are sustained by ice-albedo feedback modified by ocean heat transport and are not caused by the bi-stability of the ocean's overturning circulation. In addition, expansion/contraction of the Southern Hemisphere ice pack over regions of upwelling, regulating outgassing of CO$_2$ to the atmosphere, is the primary mechanism behind a large pCO$_2$ change between states.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:78472
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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