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Interglacials of the last 800,000 years

Berger, A; Crucifix, M; Hodell, DA; Mangili, C; McManus, JF; Otto-Bliesner, B; Pol, K; ... Past Interglacials Working Group of PAGES, .; + view all (2016) Interglacials of the last 800,000 years. Reviews of Geophysics , 54 (1) pp. 162-219. 10.1002/2015RG000482. Green open access

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Abstract

Interglacials, including the present (Holocene) period, are warm, low land-ice extent (high sea–level), end members of glacial cycles. Based on a sea-level definition, we identify eleven interglacials in the last 800,000 years, a result that is robust to alternative definitions. Data compilations suggest that, despite spatial heterogeneity, Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 5e (last interglacial) and 11c (~400 ka ago) were globally strong (warm), while MIS 13a (~500 ka ago) was cool at many locations. A step change in strength of interglacials at 450 ka is apparent only in atmospheric CO2, and in Antarctic and deep ocean temperature. The onset of an interglacial (glacial termination) seems to require a reducing precession parameter (increasing northern hemisphere summer insolation), but this condition alone is insufficient. Terminations involve rapid, non-linear, reactions of ice volume, CO2 and temperature to external astronomical forcing. The precise timing of events may be modulated by millennial-scale climate change that can lead to a contrasting timing of maximum interglacial intensity in each hemisphere. A variety of temporal trends is observed, such that maxima in the main records are observed either early or late in different interglacials. The end of an interglacial (glacial inception) is a slower process involving a global sequence of changes. Interglacials have been typically 10–30 ka long. The combination of minimal reduction in northern summer insolation over the next few orbital cycles, owing to low eccentricity, and high atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations implies that the next glacial inception is many tens of millennia in the future.

Type: Article
Title: Interglacials of the last 800,000 years
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/2015RG000482
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015RG000482
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: interglacials; review; quaternary
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474024
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