We model the response of the climate system during Heinrich event 2 (H2) by employing an atmospheric general circulation model, using boundary conditions based on the concept of a "canonical" Heinrich event. The canonical event is initialized with a full-height Laurentide ice sheet (LIS) and CLIMAP sea surface temperatures (SSTs), followed by lowering of the LIS, then warming of North Atlantic SSTs. Our modeled temperature and wind fields exhibit spatially variable responses over the Northern Hemisphere at each stage of the H2 event. In some regions the climatic responses are additive, whereas in other regions they cancel or are of opposite sign, suggesting that Heinrich event climatic variations may have left complex signatures in geologic records. We find variations in the tropical water balance and the mass balance of ice sheets, and implications for variations in terrestrial methane production from the contraction of northern permafrost regions and the expansion of tropical wetlands. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Atmospheric transmission of North Atlantic Heinrich events