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About Topic 2

Mission:

Topic 2 will advance the understanding of past, present and future changes of the climate system from an ocean and cryosphere perspective by closing critical knowledge gaps related to warming climates, variability and extremes as well as sea level change for the benefit of society.

Our focus:

The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, which are currently by far the highest for at least 800,000 years as a result of anthropogenic influence, is strongly affecting the ocean and cryosphere. We focus on natural and anthropogenically-induced variability as well as on feedbacks in the coupled Earth system via observations, data analyses and comprehensive modeling. Essential are furthermore reconstructions of the past which bring our current changes into the long-term perspective.

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Recent Highlights

Intense meltwater runoff into the Arctic during the late deglaciation

Large parts of North America were occupied by the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum. Its retreat during deglacial global warming took thousands of years. Via analysis of lead isotopic compositions in sediments offshore the Mackenzie Delta in the Canadian Arctic Ocean, at least four periods of intense Laurentide Ice Sheet sourced meltwater runoff into the Arctic could be identified. These events took place between ~14 to 8.5 thousand years before present. The strongest event is recorded at the very end of the Bølling-Allerød and therefore in good temporal agreement with the beginning of the Younger Dryas cooling.

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