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High-resolution isotopic evidence for a potential Saharan provenance of Greenland glacial dust

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Han Changhee, Do Hur Soon, Han Yeongcheol, Lee Khanghyun, Hong Sungmin, Erhardt Tobias, Fischer Hubertus, Svensson Anders M., Steffensen Jørgen Peder, Vallelonga Paul,
Project iCEP - Climate and Environmental Physics: Innovation in ice core science
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Scientific Reports
Volume (Issue) 8(1)
Page(s) 15582 - 15582
Title of proceedings Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-33859-0

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Dust concentrations in Greenland ice show pronounced glacial/interglacial variations with almost two orders of magnitude increase during the Last Glacial Maximum. Greenland glacial dust was previously sourced to two East Asian deserts: the Taklimakan and Gobi deserts. Here we report the first high resolution Pb and Sr isotopic evidence for a significant Saharan dust influence in Greenland during the last glacial period, back to ~31 kyr ago, from the Greenland NEEM ice core. We find that during Greenland Stadials 3–5.1 (~31 to 23 kyr ago), the primary dust provenance was East Asia, as previously proposed. Subsequently, the Saharan isotopic signals emerge during Greenland Stadials 2.1a–2.1c (~22.6 to 14.7 kyr ago) and from the late Bølling-Allerød to the Younger Dryas periods (~13.6 to 12 kyr ago), coincident with increased aridity in the Sahara and efficient northward transport of dust during these cold periods. A mixing isotopic model proposes the Sahara as an important source, accounting for contribution to Greenland glacial dust of up to 50%, particularly during Greenland Stadial 2.1b and the late Bølling-Allerød to the Younger Dryas periods. Our findings provide new insights into climate-related dust provenance changes and essential paleoclimatic constraints on dust-climate feedbacks in northern high latitudes.