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Scenarios regarding the lead of equatorial sea surface temperature over global ice volume

Summary: Scenarios regarding the lead of equatorial sea surface
temperature over global ice volume
Yosef Ashkenazy1
and Eli Tziperman2
Received 16 October 2005; revised 27 December 2005; accepted 19 January 2006; published 29 April 2006.
[1] Recent proxy evidences indicate that the equatorial sea surface temperature (SST) may have led global ice
volume by $3 kyr during the late Pleistocene glacial cycles. Given the short timescales of equatorial dynamics,
equatorial climate variability is characterized by a timescale of no more than a few years. It would seem
somewhat surprising therefore that the equatorial ocean and atmosphere can determine and lead the long-
timescale 100 kyr glacial cycles. Two scenarios are presented according to which such a lead may be observed
even when the equatorial ocean and atmosphere are not necessarily responsible for leading the glacial cycles
(they may still act as a strong amplifier). First, it is shown that if the plankton-based proxy reflects the warm
season temperature rather than an annual temperature, it may lead the global temperature, although the dynamics
of the glacial cycles may still be dominated by the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. It is noted that a present-day
seasonal bias of the equatorial proxy record is still inconclusive, and the possibility of a proxy bias only during
glacial times is considered as well. A second scenario is suggested in which global sea level rises before
equatorial SST, yet the later evolution of factors such as the atmospheric CO2 and equatorial SST is faster and
takes the lead over global ice volume. If the initial rise of sea level is masked by a sufficiently large proxy noise
(because of instrumental and natural noise), it may not be seen and the lead may be attributed to the equatorial
SST and CO2.


Source: Ashkenazy, Yossi "Yosef" - Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research,Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Tziperman, Eli - Departments of Earth and Planetary Sciences & School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University


Collections: Environmental Management and Restoration Technologies; Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Geosciences; Physics