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Monday, December 20, 2010

C. M. Turney & R. T. Jones, J.Quartern. Sci., 25 (2010), Does the Agulhas Current amplify global temperatures during super-interglacials?

Journal of Quaternary Science, 25(6) (2010) 839-843/ doi: 10.1002/jqs.1423

Does the Agulhas Current amplify global temperatures during super-interglacials?

Chris M. Turney* and Richard T. Jones
Climate Change and Sustainable Futures, School of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, U.K.


Future projections of climate suggest our planet is moving into a ‘super-interglacial’. Here we report a global synthesis of ice, marine and terrestrial data from a recent paleoclimate equivalent, the Last Interglacial (ca. 130–116 ka ago). Our analysis suggests global temperatures were on average ca. 1.5 °C higher than today (relative to the AD 1961–1990 period). Intriguingly, we identify several Indian Ocean Last Interglacial sequences that suggest persistent early warming, consistent with leakage of warm, saline waters from the Agulhas Current into the Atlantic, intensifying meridional ocean circulation and increasing global temperatures. This mechanism may have played a significant positive feedback role during super-interglacials and could become increasingly important in the future. These results provide an important insight into a future 2 °C climate stabilization scenario.


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