The Last Glacial Period (~115,000 to 11,500 years ago) was characterised by a series of abrupt climate changes known as millennial-scale climate events. These events consisted of rapid changes (within decades) from cold conditions (known as stadials) to relatively warmer conditions (known as interstadials) and occurred at least 25 times during the Last Glacial Period. These events are best recorded in Greenland ice-cores and are also evident in numerous other marine and terrestrial records spanning a wide geographic area. However, the extent to which these recorded changes are in-phase across different climate regions has yet to be tested in a systematic and robust way. Speleothems (secondary cave deposits such as stalagmites), are ideal for investigating patterns in the global expression and timing of millennial-scale climate events as they can be dated very precisely and are widely distributed.
In this presentation I will discuss the results of a systematic comparison of the timing of interstadial warming events in 68 published speleothem records. Synchronous timing of interstadial onset is seen for many events between Asia, South America and Europe suggesting that climate shifts were very rapidly propagated between these regions. The compilation of multiple speleothem records also produces very precise ages for the timing of millennial-scale climate events. This is useful for further investigating their cause, and may help to improve the Greenland ice core chronology.