Holocene black carbon in Antarctica paralleled Southern Hemisphere climate
McConnell, Joseph R.
Murphy, Lisa N.
Das, Sarah B.
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Black carbon (BC) and other biomass-burning (BB) aerosols are critical components of climate forcing, but quantification, predictive climate modeling, and policy decisions have been hampered by limited understanding of the climate drivers of BB and by the lack of long-term records. Prior modeling studies suggested that increased Northern Hemisphere anthropogenic BC emissions increased recent temperatures and regional precipitation, including a northward shift in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Two Antarctic ice cores were analyzed for BC, and the longest record shows that the highest BC deposition during the Holocene occurred ~8–6 k years before present in a period of relatively high austral burning season and low growing season insolation. Atmospheric transport modeling suggests South America (SA) as the dominant source of modern Antarctic BC and, consistent with the ice core record, climate model experiments using mid-Holocene and preindustrial insolation simulate comparable increases in carbon loss due to fires in SA during the mid-Holocene. SA climate proxies document a northward shifted ITCZ and weakened SA Summer Monsoon (SASM) during this period, with associated impacts on hydroclimate and burning. A second Antarctic ice core spanning the last 2.5 k years documents similar linkages between hydroclimate and BC, with the lowest deposition during the Little Ice Age characterized by a southerly shifted ITCZ and strengthened SASM. These new results indicate that insolation-driven changes in SA hydroclimate and BB, likely linked to the position of the ITCZ, modulated Antarctic BC deposition during most of the Holocene and suggests connections and feedbacks between future BC emissions and hydroclimate.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122 (2017): 6713–6728, doi:10.1002/2017JD026599.
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