Gradual South-North Climate Transition in the Atlantic Realm Within the Younger Dryas

Haiwei Zhang, Hai Cheng, Christoph Spötl, Xu Zhang, Francisco W. Cruz, Ashish Sinha, Augusto S. Auler, Nicolás M. Stríkis, Xianfeng Wang, Gayatri Kathayat, Xianglei Li, Hanying Li, Carlos Pérez-Mejías, Yanjun Cai, Youfeng Ning, Richard Lawrence Edwards

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7 Scopus citations


The abrupt climate event Younger Dryas (YD) has been extensively studied; however, its structure is still poorly understood. Climate in northeastern Brazil is very sensitive to the latitudinal position of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) associated with abrupt climate change in the Atlantic. Here, we report changes in the ITCZ position within the YD by using precise speleothem multiproxy records from northeastern Brazil. We provide evidence for a gradual northward migration of the ITCZ preceding poleward shifts of the westerlies and the polar front in northern high latitudes within the YD. This can be attributed to gradual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration as a consequence of the weakening Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). We suggest that a persistent increase in atmospheric CO2 might have triggered a resumption of the AMOC and reorganization of the atmosphere circulation in the Atlantic during the mid-YD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL092620
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 21 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Editor and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions. We also thank Ms. Xiaoli Qu for helping the CLFM scan. This study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation of China (41888101, 41972186, 41731174, and 41502166), FAPESP (2017/50085‐3), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2019T120894 and 2015M580832). Sampling was performed under a SISBIO permit.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)
  • Younger Dryas
  • interhemispheric Atlantic seesaw
  • northeast Brazil
  • speleothem


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