Abstract

We report 80 10Be ages on 14 moraines from Irish cirques that show a previously unrecognized signal of at least eight millennial-scale fluctuations between 24.5 ± 0.7 ka and 11.0 ± 0.3 ka. Several moraine ages may be correlative with abrupt warming at the onset of the Bølling-Allerød interval (14.7 ka) and the end of the Younger Dryas interval (11.7 ka), suggesting a forced response. Our ages also identify glacier fluctuations that occurred when regional temperatures were relatively stable. This finding is consistent with modeling results showing several hundred-meter-scale glacier fluctuations in response to interannual variability. At the same time, our composite record of cirque-glacier average equilibrium line altitudes (ELAs) shows a response to warming due to increasing greenhouse gases and summer insolation modulated by abrupt climate changes. Our new 10Be chronology thus records both forced and unforced millennial-scale glacier fluctuations superimposed on a lower-frequency ELA signal of forced response to climate change.

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