A jökulhlaup from a Laurentian captured ice shelf to the Gulf of Mexico could have caused the Bølling warming
Erlingsson, U., 2008: A jökulhlaup from a Laurentian captured ice shelf to the Gulf of Mexico could have caused the Bølling warming. Geogr. Ann., 90 A (2): 125–140.
The map illustrates how jökulhlaup from a Laurentian captured ice shelf to the Gulf of Mexico could cause warming, while jökulhlaups in other directions could cause severe cooling. ©Ulf Erlingsson, 2006.
ABSTRACT. Since the rapid rate of global warming at the onset of the Bølling interstadial became evident, its cause has been under debate. It coincides closely in time with a strong global transgression called meltwater pulse 1a. One attempt at solution says that a meltwater pulse of Antarctic origin could cause an increase in North Atlantic Deep Water formation, and thus give rise to the Bølling interstadial. However, others have disputed that Antarctic meltwater would have that effect, and furthermore, the start of the Bølling interstadial is not even associated with an increase in North Atlantic Deep Water. A controversial hypothesis says that some Laurentian meltwater came from a jökulhlaup (sub-glacial outburst flood), but no study has yet shown unequivocally that sufficient amounts of water could be stored under the ice. Furthermore, according to all available data a meltwater pulse from the Laurentian ice would give rise to strong cooling, not warming. Nevertheless, megafloods appear instrumental in accumulating the Mississippi Fan, created entirely during the Quaternary period, and dramatic climate changes are characteristic of this period. This paper presents a hypothetical chain of events, building on the published literature and simple calculations, to investigate whether the order of magnitude is reasonable. The hypothesis is that a jökulhlaup from a Laurentian captured ice shelf flowed out through the Mississippi, boosted the Gulf Stream, reinvigorated the North Atlantic circulation, and as a result triggered the Bølling warm phase.
Author's Comment: Implications for Climate Change
Although not the point of this paper, it does cast a shadow of doubt over one of the arguments in support of the hypothesis that the Earth faces an imminent risk of rapid global warming. The argument in question is that the covariation of greenhouse gases and temperature in the past proves that there is a correlation, and that since the concentrations of greenhouse gases now is much higher, the temperature soon will become much higher, too. However, if the hypothesis of my paper is correct, the covariation is caused by a mutual dependence on a third process, why no conclusion can be drawn regarding global warming or climate change in our time. On the other hand, it does raise the possibility of another potential risk: Continental-scale jökulhlaups from a captured lake under the melting Greenland ice sheet. The consequences would probably be much worse than of global warming: Immediate global coastal flooding, and extreme cold in Europe. It is even conceivable that it would trigger an ice age, by shutting down the North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Although not studied yet, and although the probability that this would happen soon is low, it does seem possible based on what is known about the Greenland ice sheet and the subglacial morphology.
Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective — Mapping the Fairy Land
In this little 100-page hardcover book, Dr. Ulf Erlingsson, the founder of Lindorm Inc., introduces the reader to the tale of Atlantis. He compares the text to what is known today about the paleogeography of ancient Europe. The ice age, the Storegga tsunami, and pre-historic meteorite impacts were very dramatic compared to our present relatively stable world. In the sense that the book deals with geography and mythology, it is a book about geomythology.
Plato's tale was one about the demise of civilization by a combination of natural disaster and an unjust war. This book reveals the unsustainability of empire-building a la Atlantis, and warns against the irrelevant arguments dominating the public debate. The topic is Atlantis, but the discourse touches on the eternal questions of war, peace, morality, justice, religion, environment, and science.
The foreword is written by prof. em. Wibjörn Karlén, editor of Geografiska Annaler. The book was published by Lindorm in 2004 and translated to Japanese in 2005.
This book leaves few readers indifferent, surely because it deals with sensitive and controversial topics where opinions mix with prejudice. Let us just share some of the positive reactions:
“...an extremely interesting, convincing and well illustrated book”
Lars H. Ottoson, author, former news anchor
“...you have a wonderful book on your hands, and it really ought to be in more libraries!”
Curt Allred, librarian
“There is a surprising sense of humor in the book, and the form in which it is written gives the impression of having a conversation with its author.”
José Saybe, civil engineer executive, theatre owner
Atlantis and Paleogeography - information site
Forum - debate site
Ulf Erlingsson - publication list
Author's Comment: Has Atlantis been "found"?
Chances are that the Atlantis mystery may have been solved. In my book and at the conference "Atlantis 2005" on Milos, I predicted that the concentric lakes of the city of Atlantis according to Plato would turn out to be rings formed by a meteorite impact on a certain plain on the SW end of Dogger Bank in the North Sea, visible when that area was dry land during the ice age. The prediction was born out by geological surveys made for oil exploration (here is the hypothetical location of the City of Atlantis, though the text is in Swedish). The geology matched the prediction as to genesis, location, shape, and size. Of course, this is not what most people expected Atlantis to be like, so Atlantis may well never be "found," even though the mystery is, most likely, solved. Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos desereves credit for arranging the Atlantis conference, thus finally bringing different scholars together. Also, Dr. Filippos Tsikalas, writing together with Papamarinopoulos and Shuvalov, deserves credit for two presentations of concentric-ring meteorite craters, which made it all fall into place.
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The book was printed using renewable energy only, and on non-chlorine-bleached paper