Terminations and Melt Ponds

(a)1 kyr average temperatures. (b)Annual insolation at lat=65N  (Huybers 2006). (c)Annual water surface absorbed insolation at lat=65N. Vertical bars indicate |dT| > 2 s.d.

Melt ponds play a major role in the absorption of solar insolation. Absorption by a water surface is a strong function of  solar elevation and so it is solar elevation at high northern latitudes during the summer which determines albedo and melt rates. The stable stratification of melt ponds in the range 0oC to 4oC allows storage of heat from summer to summer while the positive feedback between pond area and heat uptake leads ultimately to exponential growth followed by catastrophic collapse. All five Terminations occurred at times of peak or increasing Annual Water Surface Absorbed Insolation, a better match than previous models.

Reid, J. (2019) The Fluid Catastrophe Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.