Nature Unbound III Holocene climate variability (Part B)



The Neoglacial has been a period of progressive cooling, increasing aridity, and advancing glaciers, culminating in the Little Ice Age. The main Holocene climatic cycle of ~ 2400 years delimits periods of more stable climatic conditions which were identified over a century ago. The stable periods are punctuated by abrupt changes.

Neoglaciation was the term coined to describe the global glacier advances after the Holocene Climatic Optimum (HCO) that Francois Matthes identified in the 1940's. Glacier growth was caused by orbital-driven insolation changes. Although variability in local conditions caused the Neoglacial to start at different times in different glaciological areas, it is generally agreed that it started between 6000-5000 years BP in both hemispheres. Glaciers fluctuated with major glacier advances followed by shorter glacier retreats, culminating in the Little Ice Age when globally glaciers reached their maximum Holocene extent (figure 43). The Neoglaciation featured global cooling as temperatures responded more to the decrease in solar forcing due to orbital insolation changes than to the increase in GHG forcing.

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