Rapid northern hemisphere ice sheet melting during the penultimate deglaciation

Heather M Stoll*, Isabel Cacho, Edward Gasson, Jakub Sliwinski, Oliver Kost, Ana Moreno, Miguel Iglesias, Judit Torner, Carlos Perez-Mejias, Negar Haghipour, Hai Cheng, R Lawrence Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The rate and consequences of future high latitude ice sheet retreat remain a major concern given ongoing anthropogenic warming. Here, new precisely dated stalagmite data from NW Iberia provide the first direct, high-resolution records of periods of rapid melting of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during the penultimate deglaciation. These records reveal the penultimate deglaciation initiated with rapid century-scale meltwater pulses which subsequently trigger abrupt coolings of air temperature in NW Iberia consistent with freshwater-induced AMOC slowdowns. The first of these AMOC slowdowns, 600-year duration, was shorter than Heinrich 1 of the last deglaciation. Although similar insolation forcing initiated the last two deglaciations, the more rapid and sustained rate of freshening in the eastern North Atlantic penultimate deglaciation likely reflects a larger volume of ice stored in the marine-based Eurasian Ice sheet during the penultimate glacial in contrast to the land-based ice sheet on North America as during the last glacial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3819
Number of pages16
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2022


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