Globally synchronous ice core volcanic tracers and abrupt cooling during the last glacial period



[1] We perform a Monte Carlo pattern recognition analysis of the coincidence between three regional volcanic histories from ice coring of Greenland and Antarctica over the period 2 to 45 ka, using SO4 anomalies in Greenland and East Antarctica determined by continuous core chemistry, together with West Antarctic volcanic ash layers determined by remote optical borehole logging and core assays. We find that the Antarctic record of volcanism correlates with Glacial abrupt climate change at a 95% to >99.8% (∼3σ) significance level and that volcanic depositions at the three locations match at levels exceeding 3σ, likely indicating that many common horizons represent single eruptive events which dispersed material world wide. These globally coincident volcanics were associated with abrupt cooling, often simultaneous with onsets or sudden intensifications of millennial cold periods. The striking agreement between sites implies that the consistency of current timescales obtained by isotopic and glaciological dating methods is better than estimated.