Spatial Fingerprint of Younger Dryas Cooling and Warming in Eastern North America


Abstract The Younger Dryas (YD, 12.9-11.7 ka) is the most recent, near-global interval of abrupt climate change with rates similar to modern global warming. Understanding the causes and biodiversity effects of YD climate changes requires determining the spatial fingerprints of past temperature changes. Here we build pollen-based and branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether-based temperature reconstructions in eastern North America (ENA) to better understand deglacial temperature evolution. YD cooling was pronounced in the northeastern United States and muted in the north central United States. Florida sites warmed during the YD, while other southeastern sites maintained a relatively stable climate. This fingerprint is consistent with an intensified subtropical high during the YD and demonstrates that interhemispheric responses were more complex spatially in ENA than predicted by the bipolar seesaw model. Reduced-amplitude or antiphased millennial-scale temperature variability in the southeastern United States may support regional hotspots of biodiversity and endemism.

Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090031
David Fastovich
David Fastovich
Postdoctoral Scholar in Paleoclimate Dynamics

My research interests are focused on understanding past global change using proxies and models.