Features and lessons from Past Interglacials “warm periods” during the last 1.5 million years

PTDC/CTA-GEO/29897/2017

Funded by the Portuguese national funds from FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology and from the operational programs CRESC Algarve 2020 and COMPETE 2020

This project aims to reconstruct past interglacial climate features using environmental data from marine sediments in order to understand the climate system dynamics and identify the processes behind natural climatic variability in past warm periods. This study will provide new insights that will enable modelers to more accurately forecast future changes in ocean circulation and climate, and their potential impacts on society, and consequently, help policy makers to contend climate change effects on the global warming context.

Overview

Anthropogenic CO2 release into the atmosphere leads to temperature projections for 2100 not experienced on Earth since many million years. Those periods are poorly known due to low temporal and spatial data and ill-defined climate forcing. But, past warm periods (interglacials), occurring during the Quaternary, under variable boundary conditions (e.g. greenhouse gases concentration, sea level and ice sheets size, insolation and orbital forcing), can provide invaluable information on the dynamics and processes behind natural warm climates. This project aims to reconstruct past interglacial climate features using paleoenvironmental data from marine sediments in order to understand the climate system dynamics and identify the processes behind natural climatic variability of past warm periods.

This study will provide new insights that will enable modellers to more accurately forecast future changes in ocean circulation and climate, and their potential impacts on society, and consequently, help policy makers to contend climate change effects on the global warming context. High-resolution analysis will be performed on sediments from two strategic locations, the Labrador Sea and the Iberian Margin. The Labrador Sea is crucial to track ice sheet oscillations and iceberg and meltwater discharges, due to global warming, from North America and Greenland into the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Iberian Margin is a key location for understanding inter-hemispheric climate connections and grasping the impact of freshwater input due to the collapse of either the European and/or the Grennland Ice Sheets. In this project we propose to generate paleoclimate reconstructions from the last 1.5 Ma, covering the interval known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (600 – 1100 ka), on two sequences, one in the Labrador Sea IODP Site U1305 and on the Iberian Margin IODP Site U1385. Furthermore, this period encompasses very warm interglacials under low pCO2 concentrations, crucial to improve our understanding on climate dynamics which is essential to better foresee antropogenic-forced climate change. To accomplish this project we will use a multi-proxy approach that includes: Alkenones and planktonic foraminiferal fauna to reconstruct SST; δ18O on benthic foraminifera for glacial ice volume; % tetra-unsaturated alkenone and % of N. pachyderma and IRD to assess meltwater input and Iceberg discharges; δ13C on benthic foraminifera, Alcohol Index and Nd to tail AMOC changes. Our results will be an important contribution for IPCC reports to establish a framework of natural variability and also international research programs coordinated within IODP and PAGES collaborative Programs. This project will launch and/or reinforce synergies within Portugal, Europe and North American researchers as well as contribute to improve transference of knowledge to society through outreach activities and training of young researchers.

Goals

The overall objective of this project is to reconstruct at millennial-scale oceanographic variations and climatic instability recorded during past warm periods over the last 1.5 Ma, and understand the link between high and mid latitudes of North Atlantic. This period provide a wide panel of baseline conditions (astronomical configuration, ice sheet size and CO2 concentrations) for testing the relationships of the different processes underlying rapid climate changes.

We will focus on past interglacials similar to our present day interglacial such as Interglacials that occurred at 1100 ka, 780 ka, 420 ka, 125 ka (Marine isotope stages (MIS) 31, 19, 11, 5e), and we expect, therefore, that the understanding of these interglacials instabilities will provide crucial information on the dynamics of the ongoing climate. We also focus our study on the glacial inception phenomenon and take the challenge of answering the question: despite the ongoing global warming, could the Earth enter in a new glacial state, how and when?

To achieve the above-defined goals, in an innovative and effective way, we propose a multi-disciplinary approach integrating micropaleontology, sedimentology, and organic and inorganic geochemistry to the study of marine sedimentary sequences from key geographic areas such as and high and mid-latitudes of North Atlantic. We propose, to perform for the first time, a high-resolution study on two cores:

  • SW Iberian Margin (IbM) (IODP Exp339 U1385) and
  • North Atlantic high-latitudes
Scheme of the study area

Team

Teresa Alexandra Ribeiro Rodrigues

Principal Investigator

Laboratório BioGeoQuimica, IPMA, Portugal

Fatima Filomena Guedes Abrantes

Co-Investigator

Laboratório Sedimentologia, IPMA, Portugal

Dulce Oliveira

Palinonogia – Paleoclima, IPMA, Portugal

Filipa Naughton

Palinonogia – Paleoclima, IPMA, Portugal

Antje Helga Luise Voelker

Researcher

IPMA, Portugal

Maria Emília Carvalho Salgueiro

Laboratório Limpo, IPMA, Portugal

Cremilde Braz Monteiro

Técnico Superior

Laboratório Sedimentologia, IPMA, Portugal

Mária Padilha

Research Fellowship

Laboratório BioGeoQuimica, IPMA, Portugal

Marta Mega Rufino

Researcher

Grupo Ocean and Climate Change, CCMAR, Portugal

Joan Grimalt

Researcher

CSIC- IDAEA, Barcelona, Spain

Montserrat Alonso Garcia

Researcher

University of Salamanca, Spain

Francisco Javier Sierro Sánchez

Researcher

University of Salamanca, Spain

Leopoldo Pena

Researcher

University of Barcelona, Spain

Enno Schefuss

Marum – University of Bremen, Germany

Deliverables

Papers

  • Alonso-Garcia, M., Rodrigues, T., Abrantes, F., Padilha, M., Alvarez-Zarikian, C.A., Kunkelova, T., Kroon, D., Wright, J.D., Betzler, C., 2019. Sea surface temperature, productivity and hydrological changes in the Northern Indian Ocean (Maldives Sea) during the interval ~575-175 ka (MIS 14 to 7). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109376
  • Naughton F., Costas S., Gomes S.D., Rodrigues T., Desprat S., Bronk-Ramsey C., Salgueiro E., Sánchez Goñi M.F., Renssen H., Trigo, R., Oliveira, D., Voelker A.H.L., Abrantes F., 2019. Coupled ocean and atmospheric changes during the Younger Dryas in southwestern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 212, 108-120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.03.033
  • Sánchez Goñi, M.F., Ferretti, P., Polanco-Martínez, J.M., Rodrigues, T., Alonso-García, M., Rodríguez-Tovar, F.J., Dorador, J., Desprat, S., 2019. Pronounced northward shift of the westerlies during MIS 17 leading to the strong 100-kyr ice age cycles. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 511, 117–129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.01.032
  • Oliveira, D., Desprat, S., Yin, Q., Naughton, F., Trigo, R., Rodrigues, T., Abrantes, F., Sánchez Goñi, M.F., 2018. Unraveling the forcings controlling the vegetation and climate of the best orbital analogues for the present interglacial in SW Europe. Clim. Dyn., 51, 667–686. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-3948-7

Talks

  • Invited Talk: Rodrigues, T., Past Interglacials Climate Variability: Features and lessons from “Warm Worlds”; Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa (ISEL), 29 Maio 2019.
  • M. Alonso-Garcia, T. Rodrigues, E. Salgueiro, M. Padilha, A.I. Lopes, A. Voelker, H. Kuhnert, U. Röhl, F.J. Sierro, J.A. Flores, I. Gil, W. Soares and F. Abrantes. Iberian margin sea surface temperatures indicate a change in glacial North Atlantic circulation during the Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene transition. 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), Dublin, Ireland, 25-31 July, 2019.
  • Naughton, F., Oliveira, D., Desprat, S., Rodrigues, T., Morales Molino, C., Hodell, D., Alonso-Garcia, M., Abrantes, F., Sánchez -Goñi, M.F. 2019. Climate‐driven vegetation changes during MIS 12 and MIS 16 in southwestern Europe. 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), Dublin July 2019.
  • Sánchez Goñi, M.F., Desprat, S., Morales del Molino, C., Naughton, F., Oliveira, D., Ferretti, P., Polanco-Martinez, J.M., Rodrigues, T., Alonso-García, M., Rodriguez-Tovar F.J., Dorador, J. 2019. 800,000 years of western Mediterranean vegetation and climate changes: a zooming on the cold MIS 17 interglacial (700 ka). Mediterranean Palynology Symposium 2019, Bordeaux, France, 9-11 July, 2019.
  • Oliveira D, Desprat S, Naughton F, Rodrigues T, Alonso-García M, Joan O. Grimalt, Abrantes F, Sánchez Goñi MF. 2019. Climate and vegetation imprint of the cool MIS 13 in the Iberian Peninsula. Mediterranean Palynology Symposium 2019, Bordeaux, France, 9-11 July, 2019.
  • Oliveira D, Desprat S, Q Yin, Naughton F, Trigo R, Rodrigues T, Abrantes F, Sánchez Goñi MF. Western Mediterranean vegetation and climate dynamics during the best astronomical analogues of the Holocene: evidence from a model–data comparison. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, 8–13 April 2018, Vienna, Austria. EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts (Vol. 20, p. 12077). EGU2018-12077.

Posters

  • T. Rodrigues; C. Gonçalves; J.O. Grimalt; F. Abrantes; What does past climate change tell us about global warming?; 42ndCIESM Congress, 7- 11 Outubro, Estoril, Lisboa 2019.
  • T. Rodrigues; C. Gonçalves; M. Padilha; D. Oliveira; J.O. Grimalt; F. Abrantes; Past Interglacials Climate Variability: Features and lessons from “Warm Worlds”; 13th International Conference of Paleoceanography, Sydney (Australia), 2-6 September 2019.
  • Gomes, S.D., Fletcher, W., Rodrigues, T. , Oliveira, D., Sanchez-Goni, M. F., Abrantes, F., Stone, A., Naughton, F . Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations: the overlooked factor promoting forest development in southwestern Europe across Termination I?. 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), Dublin, Ireland, 25-31 July, 2019.
  • T. Rodrigues; C. Gonçalves; M. Padilha; M. Alonso-Garcia; D. Oliveira; J.O. Grimalt; F. Abrantes; What can  Past Interglacials Climate and Oceanographic Variability teach us about the ongoing climate warming?; 20th INQUA , 25th and 31st Dublin Ireland, July 2019.
  • Oliveira D, Desprat S, Naughton F, Rodrigues T, Alonso-García M, Joan O. Grimalt, Abrantes F, Sánchez Goñi MF. Climate change and vegetation dynamics during the lukewarm interglacial MIS 13 in SW Europe. 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), Dublin, Ireland, 25-31 July, 2019.
  • V. Morenos, M. Alonso-Garcia, E. Salgueiro, C.N. Rodríguez-Díaz, T. Rodrigues, H. Kuhnert, A. Lopes, A.H.L. Voelker, M. Padilha, W. Soares, F.F.G. Abrantes Planktonic foraminifer isotopes record of the Early Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles at the SW Iberian Margin. 4th International Meeting of Early-stage Researchers in Palaeontology (IMERP), Cuenca, Spain, 11-14 June, 2019.
  • C.N. Rodríguez-Díaz, A. Lopes, M. Alonso-García, V. Morenos, E. Salgueiro, T. Rodrigues, A.H.L. Voelker, H. Kuhnert, J. Groeneveld, C. Herrero, W. Soares, F. Abrantes. Changes in bottom water conditions at the SW Iberian Margin during the Early Pleistocene based on benthic foraminiferal assemblages. 4th International Meeting of Early-stage Researchers in Palaeontology (IMERP), Cuenca, Spain, 11-14 June, 2019.
  • Salgueiro, E., Voelker, A., F. Sierro, D. Hodell, T. Rodrigues, M. Alonso-Garcia, F. Abrantes., 2019. Temperature and Productivity variability on the southwestern Portuguese Margin during the initial phase of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. EGU, Vienna, Austria, 7-12 April, 2019.
  • Gomes, S.D., Fletcher, W., Rodrigues, T. , Oliveira, D., Sanchez-Goni, M. F., Abrantes, F., Stone, A., Naughton, F. Abrupt climate shifts during the last deglaciation in SW Iberia. 2019 QRA ADM, Chester: Environmental Change: pace, magnitude and impact, 3- 5 January 2019.
  • A. Lopes, M. Alonso-Garcia, E. Salgueiro, C.N. Rodriguez-Diaz, H. Kuhnert, J. Groeneveld, T. Rodrigues, W. Soares, AHL Voelker, F. Abrantes. Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene changes in the Mediterranean Outflow Water at the Southwest Iberian margin: a benthic foraminifer record. Encontro de Oceanografía 2019, Peniche, 24-25th May, 2019.
  • Teresa Rodrigues and WarmWorld team members, “Warm Worlds” project Features and lessons from Past Interglacials “warm periods” during the last 1.5 Ma, Encontro de Oceanografía 2019, Peniche, 24-25th May, 2019.
  • Oliveira D, Naughton F, Desprat S, Rodrigues T, Grimalt J, Martrat B, Voelker A, Trigo R, Polanco-Martínez J, Hodell D, Abrantes F, Sánchez Goñi MF. The Iberian Peninsula in a warmer world: learning from Quaternary super-interglacials. Encontro de Oceanografía 2019, Peniche, 24-25th May, 2019.

Outreach

Contacts us

Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera, I.P.

Av. Alfredo Magalhães Ramalho, 6
1495-165 Algés

(+351) 21 302 7000

teresa.rodrigues@ipma.pt

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