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Climate of the Past, 2011, Issue 7, p. 1247-1259
NALPS: a precisely dated European climate record 12060 ka
Abstract:

Accurate and precise chronologies are essential in understanding the rapid and recurrent climate variations of the Last Glacial – known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events – found in the Greenland ice cores and other climate archives. The existing chronological uncertainties during the Last Glacial, however, are still large. Radiometric age data and stable isotopic signals from speleothems are promising to improve the absolute chronology. We present a record of several precisely dated stalagmites from caves located at the northern rim of the Alps (NALPS), a region that favours comparison with the climate in Greenland. The record covers most of the interval from 120 to 60 ka at an average temporal resolution of 2 to 22 yr and 2_-age uncertainties of ca. 200 to 500 yr. The rapid and large oxygen isotope shifts of 1 to 4.5‰ occurred within decades to centuries and strongly mimic the Greenland D-O pattern. Compared to the updated Greenland ice-core timescale (GICC05modelext) the NALPS record confirms the timing of rapid warming and cooling transitions between 118 and 106 ka, but suggests younger ages for D-O events between 106 and 60 ka. As an exception, the timing of the rapid transitions into and out of the stadial following GI 22 is earlier in NALPS than in the Greenland ice-core timescale. In addition, there is a discrepancy in the duration of this stadial between the icecore and the stalagmite chronology (ca. 2900 vs. 3650 yr). The short-lived D-O events 18 and 18.1 are not recorded in NALPS, provoking questions with regard to the nature and the regional expression of these events. NALPS resolves recurrent short-lived climate changes within the cold Greenland stadial and warm interstadial successions, i.e. abrupt warming events preceding GI 21 and 23 (precursor-type events) and at the end of GI 21 and 25 (rebound-type events), as well as intermittent cooling events during GI 22 and 24. Such superimposed events have not yet been documented outside Greenland.