The Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 glaciochemical series (sodium, potassium, ammonium, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, nitrate, and chloride) provides a unique view of the chemistry of the atmosphere and the history of atmospheric circulation over both the high latitudes and mid‐low latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Interpretation of this record reveals a diverse array of environmental signatures that include the documentation of anthropogenically derived pollutants, volcanic and biomass burning events, storminess over marine surfaces, continental aridity and biogenic source strength plus information related to the controls on both high‐ and low‐frequency climate events of the last 110,000 years. Climate forcings investigated include changes in insolation of the order of the major orbital cycles that control the long‐term behavior of atmospheric circulation patterns through changes in ice volume (sea level), events such as the Heinrich events (massive discharges of icebergs first identified in the marine record) that are found to operate on a 6100‐year cycle due largely to the lagged response of ice sheets to changes in insolation and consequent glacier dynamics, and rapid climate change events (massive reorganizations of atmospheric circulation) that are demonstrated to operate on 1450‐year cycles. Changes in insolation and associated positive feedbacks related to ice sheets may assist in explaining favorable time periods and controls on the amplitude of massive rapid climate change events. Explanation for the exact timing and global synchroneity of these events is, however, more complicated. Preliminary evidence points to possible solar variability‐climate associations for these events and perhaps others that are embedded in our ice‐core‐derived atmospheric circulation records.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans


American Geophysical Union (AGU)

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©1997. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


This is an article published by AGU in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans in 1997, available online: