A salt oscillator in the glacial Atlantic? 1. The concept


  • Wallace S. Broecker,

  • Gerard Bond,

  • Millie Klas,

  • Georges Bonani,

  • Willy Wolfli


As shown by the work of Dansgaard and his colleagues, climate oscillations of one or so millennia duration punctuate much of glacial section of the Greenland ice cores. These oscillations are characterized by 5°C air temperature changes, severalfold dust content changes and 50 ppm CO2 changes. Both the temperature and CO2 change are best explained by changes in the mode of operation of the ocean. In this paper we provide evidence which suggests that oscillations in surface water conditions of similar duration are present in the record from a deep sea core at 50°N. Based on this finding, we suggest that the Greenland climate changes are driven by oscillations in the salinity of the Atlantic Ocean which modulate the strength of the Atlantic's conveyor circulation.