Earth Science Frontiers ›› 2022, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 322-333.DOI: 10.13745/j.esf.sf.2021.9.56

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Two types of millennial-scale climate oscillations during the last Quaternary and their triggering mechanism

ZHANG Xiao1(), ZHANG Xu2   

  1. 1. School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
    2. Alpine Paleoecology and Human Adaption Group (ALPHA), State Key Laboratory of Tibetan Plateau Earth System, Resources and Environment (TPESRE), Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2021-08-15 Revised:2021-09-26 Online:2022-09-25 Published:2022-08-24


Dansgaard-Oeschger events (DO) and Heinrich Stadial (HS) are the most pronounced millennial-scale climate oscillations during the Quaternary. HS, also called HS-DO event, is considered a special DO type in some occasions. Massive ice sheet melting associated with HS occurs during the cold phase of DO cycles, in contradiction to the expectation that ice sheets expand in colder climates and shrink in warmer climates. These events have global climate impacts and thus have been the focus of paleoclimate community for the past several decades, but their triggering mechanism are still under debate. This work summarizes all current available proxy records that contain fingerprints of these abrupt climate oscillations, and discusses limitations in the mechanistic explanations for DO and HS-DO based on current available modeling results, as well as future prospects especially the prospects of modeling these events.

Key words: millennial-scale climate oscillation, atlantic meridional overturning circulation, marine isotope stage 3

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