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Global, regional and local scale factors determining glaciation extent in Eastern Siberia over the last 140,000 years

G. Krinner 1 B. Diekmann 2 Florence Colleoni 3 G. Stauch 4
1 CLIPS
LGGE - Laboratoire de glaciologie et géophysique de l'environnement, AWI - Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
3 CLIPS
LGGE - Laboratoire de glaciologie et géophysique de l'environnement, CMCC - Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici [Bologna]
Abstract : The aim of this work is to evaluate the effect of variations of greenhouse gas concentrations, orbital parameters, sea-surface conditions, vegetation and dust deposition on the extent of East Siberian mountain glaciations during the late Quaternary. An atmosphere-only general circulation model is used in a series of 16 sensitivity tests at high spatial resolution over the region of interest to systematically evaluate the relative importance of these different forcing parameters. No attempt was made to reproduce in detail the history of late Quaternary mountain glaciations in East Siberia, because, given (a) the temporal and spatial scarcity of available evidence of mountain glaciations in this region and (b) the large uncertainties concerning the boundary conditions to be prescribed in this model, such an exercise must necessarily remain incomplete and partially inconclusive. The results of this study suggest that moisture delivery from the Atlantic is an important factor determining mountain glacier mass balance in Eastern Siberia and is very sensitive to the geometry of the West Eurasian ice sheet. This means that variable moisture blocking by the West Eurasian ice sheet during the Weichselian is the most important single factor explaining the opposite history of glacier and ice sheet extent in West and East Eurasia during the Weichselian. This work confirms earlier results showing that the large 140 kyr BP West Eurasian ice sheet caused regional-scale cooling extending towards Eastern Eurasia. Nevertheless, the simulated response of the regional summer temperature (and thus glacier extent because of the strong dependency of glacier mass balance of summer melt rates) is to a very large extent directly determined by insolation. For the Early Weichselian, this leads to a clear maximum of local glacier extent at 70 kyr BP, which is in line with the variations of top-of-the-atmosphere insolation on orbital time scales, but to some degree at odds with geological evidence which suggests larger glacier extent at 115 and 90 kyr BP than at 70 kyr BP. Through snow feedbacks, the effects of changes in the prescribed vegetation distribution and dust deposition rate are also substantial. In summary, it appears that the broad features of late Quaternary glaciation history in Eastern Eurasia can be understood in terms of known forcings.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 10:09:30 AM
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G. Krinner, B. Diekmann, Florence Colleoni, G. Stauch. Global, regional and local scale factors determining glaciation extent in Eastern Siberia over the last 140,000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews, Elsevier, 2011, 30 (7-8), pp821-831. ⟨10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.01.001⟩. ⟨insu-00604927⟩

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