Northward shifts in the polar front preceded Bølling and Holocene warming in southwestern Scandinavia
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGeophysical Research Letters. 2020, 47(14):e2020GL088153 10.1029/2020GL088153
The last deglaciation in northern Europe provides an opportunity to study the hydrologic component of abrupt climate shifts in a region with complex interactions between ice sheets and oceanic and atmospheric circulation. We use leaf wax hydrogen isotopes (δ2H) to reconstruct summer precipitation δ2H and aridity in southwestern Norway from 15.8 to 11.5 ka. We identify transitions to a more proximal moisture source before the ends of Heinrich Stadial 1 and the Younger Dryas, prior to local warming and increased primary productivity in both instances. We infer these changes in moisture delivery to southwestern Norway to be a response to northward shifts in the polar front caused by warm water intrusion into the North Atlantic, which preceded abrupt warming in the circum-North Atlantic. These results suggest that moisture transport pathways shift northward as warm surface ocean water reaches higher latitudes in the North Atlantic.