Several proxy records show that climate experienced cooling during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) followed by an abrupt warming at the onset of a period known as Bølling-Allerød (BA), dated approximately at 14 000 years ago. It is believed that this warming and associated sea level rise was triggered by a meltwater pulse (MWP) - referred to as the meltwater pulse 1-A, which may had been originated at the Antarctic continent. As a consequence of this pulse, besides temperature increase and sea level rise, oceanic circulation changes were also recorded. However, there is still a gap on knowledge about how could a MWP modify the Southern Ocean regional circulation. The Southern Ocean plays an important role in the process of dense water masses formation, which is fundamental on global climate. Therefore, the objective of this proposal is to clarify some of the physical and dynamical impacts of a MWP originating from Antarctica on the Southern Ocean circulation. This will be done by analyzing global paleoclimate model transient results and then applying an ocean regional model to understand the regional implications. Understanding what happened in the past may help project what would be expected if the West Antarctica Ice Sheet keeps disintegrating on currently observed rates.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: