How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

More Southern Hemisphere Evidence for Global Millennial-Scale Cycling of Climate
Kemp, J., Radke, L.C., Olley, J., Juggins, S. and De Deckker, P. 2012. Holocene lake salinity changes in the Wimmera, southeastern Australia, provide evidence for millennial-scale climate variability. Quaternary Research 77: 65-76.

The authors state that "millennial-scale climate variability has been a major focus of Quaternary research for the last decade (Clark et al., 1999)," noting that "in the Northern Hemisphere, the pattern of change is now reasonably well understood," citing Mayewski et al. (2004) and Wanner et al. (2008). However, they say that "the Southern Hemisphere remains a problem because of the high spatial variability and low resolution of available records." Nevertheless, they indicate that much evidence for the phenomenon has emerged from Australia, citing the studies of Chivas et al. (1986), De Deckker et al. (1991), Chivas et al. (1993), Gell et al. (1994), Stanley and De Deckker (2002), Turney et al. (2004), Donders et al. (2007) and Gouramanis et al. (2010), as well as from the Southern Ocean, citing Charles et al. (1996), Ninnemann et al. (1999), Gingele et al. (2007) and Moros et al. (2009), while still other evidence comes from Antarctic ice cores (Masson et al., 2000; Masson-Delmotte et al., 2004; Marino et al., 2008; Gabrielli et al., 2010) and from glacial advances (Allen et al., 2010).

What was done
In an effort designed to either support or contest this growing body of evidence, Kemp et al. developed palaeosalinity records for groundwater-influenced lakes in the Murray Basin of Australia using "an ostracod-based, weighted-averaging transfer function, supplemented with evidence from Campylodiscus clypeus (diatom), charophyte oogonia, Coxiella striata (gastropod), Elphidium sp. (foraminifera), Daphniopsis sp. ephippia (Cladocera), and brine shrimp (Parartemia zietziana) fecal pellets, the δ18O of ostracods, and >130 Ám quartz sand counts," together with a chronology based on optically-stimulated luminescence and calibrated radio-carbon ages.

What was learned
The five UK and Australian researchers determined, as they describe it, that the Holocene in Australia "was more variable than previous studies have shown," noting that their work provided evidence for recurrent intervals of low salinity cold periods having an approximate spacing of 1400 ± 550 years, which periodicity they say is "indistinguishable from climatic instabilities with a period of ~1500 ± 500 years observed in glacial and interglacial records from around the world (Mayewski et al., 2004)," which colder periods have come to be known as Bond events, due to the pioneering work of Bond et al. (1997, 2001), who associated them with periods of reduced solar activity. In between these colder periods, of course, are warmer periods, the one that preceded the Current Warm Period being the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which their data show to have peaked between AD 1040 and 1220, and of which they say "there is supporting evidence for the MWP from tree-ring (Cook et al., 2002) and speleothem (Williams et al., 2005) evidence in New Zealand."

What it means
In discussing their findings, Kemp et al. state that the lower salinity phases they identified likely represent "cooler intervals with more intense westerly circulation." In addition, they indicate that "evidence suggests that variations in solar output may have caused the position of the westerly flow to vary at centennial to millennial timescales in the late Holocene," citing the work of Varma et al. (2010). And they write that "this interpretation is consistent with climatic excursions during the Holocene recorded in South America (Lamy et al., 2001; Moreno, 2004; Kaiser et al., 2005; Moreno et al., 2009) and in glacial surges in New Zealand's South Island (Gellatly et al., 1988; Suggate, 1990), both linked to varying westerly influence (Fitzharris et al., 1992; Hooker and Fitzharris, 1999), and which are in good agreement with the records obtained here." Thus, the evidence continues to grow ever stronger for a solar-induced millennial-scale cycling of earth's global climate that is totally independent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Allen, C.S., Oakes-Fretwell, L., Anderson, J.B. and Hodgson, D.A. 2010. A record of Holocene glacial and oceanographic variability in Neny Fjord, Antarctic Peninsula. The Holocene 20: 551-564.

Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Evans, M.N., Showers, W., Hoffmann, S., Lotti-Bond, R., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G. 2001. Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Science 294: 2130-2136.

Bond, G., Showers, W., Chezebiet, M., Lotti, R., Almasi, P., deMenocal, P., Priore, P., Cullen, H., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G. 1997. A pervasive millennial scale cycle in North-Atlantic Holocene and glacial climates. Science 278: 1257-1266.

Charles, C.D., Lynch-Stieglitz, J., Ninnemann, U.S. and Fairbanks, R.G. 1996. Climate connections between the hemispheres revealed by deep sea sediment core/ice core correlations. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 142: 19-27.

Chivas, A.R., De Deckker, P. and Shelley, J.M.G. 1986. Magnesium and strontium in non-marine ostracod shells as indicators of paleosalinity and paleotemperature. Hydrobiologia 143: 135-142.

Chivas, A.R., De Deckker, P., Cali, J.A., Chapman, A., Kiss, E. and Shelley, J.M.G. 1993. Coupled stable-isotope and trace-element measurements of lacustrine carbonates as paleoclimatic indicators. In: Swart, P.K., Lohmann, K.C., McKenzie, J.A. and Savin, S.M. (Eds.). Climate Change in Continental Isotopic Records. American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph, pp. 113-121.

Clark, P.U., Webb, R.S. and Keigwin, L.D. 1999. Mechanisms of Global Climate Change at Millennial Time Scales. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.

Cook, E.R., Palmer, J.G. and D'Arrigo, R.D. 2002. Evidence for a 'Medieval Warm Period' in a 1,100 year tree-ring reconstruction of past austral summer temperatures in New Zealand. Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2001GL014580.

De Deckker, P., Correge, T. and Head, J. 1991. Late Pleistocene record of cyclic eolian activity from tropical Australia suggesting the Younger Dryas is not an unusual climatic event. Geology 19: 602-605.

Donders, T.H., Haberle, S.G., Hope, G., Wagner, F. and Visscher, H. 2007. Pollen evidence for the transition of the Eastern Australian climate system from the post-glacial to the present-day ENSO mode. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 1621-1637.

Fitzharris, B.B., Hay, J.E. and Jones, P.D. 1992. Behavior of New Zealand glaciers and atmospheric circulation changes over the past 130 years. The Holocene 2: 97-106.

Gabrielli, P., Wegner, A., Petit, J.R., Delmonte, B., De Deckker, P., Gaspari, V., Fischer, H., Ruth, U., Kriews, M., Boutron, C., Cescon, P. and Barbante, C. 2010. A major glacial-interglacial change in Aeolian dust composition inferred from Rare Earth Elements in Antarctic ice. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 265-273.

Gell, P.A., Barker, P.A., De Deckker, P., Last, W.M. and Jelicic, L. 1994. The Holocene history of West Basin Lake, Victoria, Australia: chemical changes based on fossil biota and sediment mineralogy. Journal of Paleolimnology 12: 235-258.

Gellatly, A.F., Chinn, T.J.H. and Rothlisberger, F. 1988. Holocene glacier variations in New Zealand: a review. Quaternary Science Reviews 7: 227-242.

Gingele, F., De Deckker, P. and Norman, M. 2007. Late Pleistocene and Holocene climate of SE Australia reconstructed from dust and river loads deposited offshore the River Murray Mouth. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 255: 257-272.

Gouramanis, C., Wilkins, D., De Deckker, P. 2010. 6000 years of environmental changes recorded in Blue Lake, South Australia, based on ostracod ecology and valve chemistry. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 297: 223-237.

Hooker, B.L. and Fitzharris, B.B. 1999. The correlation between climatic parameters and the retreat and advance of the Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand. Global and Planetary Change 22: 39-48.

Kaiser, J., Lamy, F. and Hebbein, D. 2005. A 70-kyr sea surface temperature record off southern Chile (Ocean Drilling Program Site 1233). Paleoceanography 20: 10.1029/2005PA001146.

Lamy, F., Hebbein, D., Rohl, U. and Wefer, G. 2001. Holocene rainfall variability in southern Chile: a marine record of latitudinal shifts of the Southern Westerlies. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 185: 369-382.

Marino, F., Castellano, E., Ceccato, D., De Deckker, P., Delmonte, B., Ghermandi, B., Maggi, V., Petit, J.R., Revel-Rolland, M. and Udisti, R. 2008. Defining the geochemical composition of the EPICA Dome C ice core dust during the last glacial-interglacial cycle. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 9: 1-11.

Masson, V., Vimeux, F., Jouzel, J., Morgan, V., Delmotte, M., Ciais, P., Hammer, C., Johnsen, S., Lipenkov, V.Y., Mosley-Thompson, E., Petit, J.R., Steig, E.J., Stievenard, M. and Vaikmae, R. 2000. Holocene climatic variability in Antarctica based on 11 ice-core isotopic records. Quaternary Research 54: 348-358.

Masson-Delmotte, V., Stenni, B. and Jouzel, J. 2004. Common millennial-scale variability of Antarctic and Southern Ocean temperatures during the past 5000 years reconstructed from the EPICA Dome C ice core. The Holocene 14: 145-151.

Mayewski, P.A., Rohling, E.E., Stager, J.C., Karlen, W., Maasch, K.A., Meeker, L.D., Meyerson, E.A., Gasse, F., van Kreveld, S., Holmgren, K., Lee-Thorp, J., Rosqvist, G, Rack, F., Staubwasser, M., Schneider, R.R. and Steig, E.J. 2004. Holocene climate variability. Quaternary Research 62: 243-255.

Moreno, P.I. 2004. Millennial-scale climate variability in northwest Patagonia over the last 15000 yr. Journal of Quaternary Science 19: 35-47.

Moreno, P.I., Francois, J.P., Villa-Martinez, R. and Moy, C.M. 2009. Millennial-scale variability in Southern Hemisphere westerly wind activity over the last 5000 years in SW Patagonia. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 25-38.

Moros, M., De Deckker, P., Jansen, E., Perner, K. and Telford, R.J. 2009. Holocene climatic variability in the Southern Ocean recorded in a deep-sea sediment core off South Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 1932-1940.

Ninnemann, U.S., Charles, C.D. and Hodell, D.A. 1999. Origin of global millennial scale climate events: constraints from the Southern Ocean deep sea sedimentary record. In: Clarke, P.U., Webb, R.S. and Keigwin, L.D. (Eds.). Mechanisms of Global Climate Change at Millennial Time Scales: Geophysical Monograph 112. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, pp. 99-112.

Stanley, C. and De Deckker, P. 2002. A Holocene record of allochthonous mineral grains into an Australian alpine lake: implications for the history of climate change in southeast Australia. Journal of Paleolimnology 27: 207-219.

Suggate, R.P. 1990. Late Pliocene and Quaternary glaciations of New Zealand. Quaternary Science Reviews 9: 175-197.

Turney, C.S.M., Kershaw, A.P., Clemens, S.C., Branch, N., Moss, P.T. and Fifield, L.K. 2004. Millennial and orbital variations of El Nino/Southern Oscillation and high-latitude climate in the last glacial period. Nature 428: 306-310.

Varma, V., Prange, M., Lamy, F., Merkel, U. and Schulz, M. 2010. Solar-forced shifts of the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies during the late Holocene. Climate of the Past Discussions 6: 369-384.

Wanner, H., Beer, J., Butikofer, J., Crowley, T.J., Cubasch, U., Fluckiger, J., Goose, H., Grosjean, M., Fortunat, J., Kaplan, J.O., Kuttel, M., Muller, S.A., Prentice, I.C., Solomina, O., Stocker, T.F., Tarasov, P., Wagner, M. and Widmann, M. 2008. Mid- to Late Holocene climate change: an overview. Quaternary Science Reviews 27: 1791-1828.

Williams, P.W., King, D.N.T., Zhao, J.-X. and Collerson, K.D. 2005. Late Pleistocene to Holocene composite speleothem 18O and 13C chronologies from South Island, New Zealand - did a global Younger Dryas really exist? Earth and Planetary Science Letters 230: 301-317.

Reviewed 6 June 2012