data from the cores over the most recent 110,000 years, and the multiparameter analyses give an exceptionally clear view of the climate system. Briefly, the data indicate that cooling into the Younger Dryas occurred in a few prominent decade(s)-long steps, whereas warming at the end of it occurred primarily in one especially large step (Figure 1.2) of about 8°C in about 10 years and was accompanied by a doubling of snow accumulation in 3 years; most of the accumulation-rate change occurred in 1 year. (This matches well the change in wind-driven upwelling in the Cariaco Basin, offshore Venezuela, which occurred in 10 years or less [Hughen et al., 1996].)
Ice core evidence also shows that wind-blown materials were more abundant in the atmosphere over Greenland by a factor of 3 (sea-salt, submicrometer dust) to 7 (dust measuring several micrometers) in the Younger Dryas atmosphere than after the event (Alley et al., 1995b; Mayewski et al., 1997) (Figure 2.1). Taylor et al. (1997) found that most of the change in most indicators occurred in one step over about 5 years at the end of the Younger Dryas, although additional steps of similar length but much smaller magnitude preceded and followed the main step, spanning a total of about 50 years. Variability in at least some indicators was enhanced near this and other transitions in the ice cores (Taylor et al., 1993), complicating identification of when transitions occurred and emphasizing the need for improved statistical and analytical tools in dealing with abrupt climate change. Beginning immediately after the main warming in Greenland (by less than or equal to 30 years), methane rose by 50 percent over about a century; this increase included tropical and high-latitude sources (Chappellaz et al., 1997; Severinghaus et al., 1998; Brook et al., 1999).