It is not often that negative results gets published in a high impact journal. Here, we highlight the absence of a systematic pattern in the anatomy of abrupt changes as recorded in different ice parameters.
Data availability and temporal resolution make it challenging to unravel the anatomy – the duration and temporal phasing – of the Last Glacial abrupt climate changes. Here, we address these limitations by investigating the anatomy of abrupt changes using sub-decadal-scale records from two Greenland ice cores. We highlight the absence of a systematic pattern in the anatomy of abrupt changes as recorded in different ice parameters. This diversity in the sequence of changes seen in ice-core data is also observed in climate parameters derived from Earth System Model simulations which exhibit self-sustained abrupt variability arising from internal atmosphere-ice ocean interactions. Our analysis of two ice cores shows that the diversity of abrupt warming transitions represents variability inherent to the climate system and not archive-specific noise. Our results hint that it may not be possible to infer statistically-robust leads and lags between the different components of the climate system because of their tight coupling.