The role of dust in glacial-interglacial cycles

Rotem Bar-Or, Carynelisa Erlick, Hezi Gildor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In this work, the possible climate effects of variations in dust flux during the last six glacial cycles (575-0 ka before present (BP)) are investigated. While most past studies investigated the role of dust in equilibrium or in relatively short transient experiments, in the present study, we conduct million-year simulations using a two-dimensional model. Our results show that accounting for increases in atmospheric dust strongly affects the mean annual surface temperature, and more importantly affects the evolution of the ice sheets. We found a similar cooling trend as previous studies due to the direct radiative forcing by dust. We also found that the effect of dust on snow albedo has a significant impact on the speed of ice-sheet retreat. Furthermore, we found that dust radiative forcing emphasizes the asymmetry of the glacial cycles, especially in the cycles that were symmetric in the reference simulation, a finding that could only be observed with multi-glacial cycle simulations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks are due to M.F. Loutre and H. Gallée for providing the LLN 2D model code and documentation, and to M.F. Loutre for ongoing advice on running the model. We also thank D. Rosenfeld and M. Matthews for helpful guidance on the project, and Y. Kaufman, I. Koren and Y. Rudich for initial advice. Thanks also to D. Rosenbaum for assistance with the translation of the code from French. CE acknowledges financial support from the Israel Science Foundation grant 1315/04. HG is the Incumbent of the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Career Development Chair, and supported by a grant from Sir Harry Djanogly, UK.


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