Antarctic volcanic eruption linked to the onset of the most rapid global climate change during the end of the last ice age

Cold and dry glacial-state climate conditions persisted in the Southern Hemisphere until approximately 17.7 ka, when paleoclimate records show a largely unexplained sharp, nearly synchronous acceleration in deglaciation. Detailed measurements in Antarctic ice cores document exactly at that time a unique, ∼192-y series of massive halogen-rich volcanic eruptions geochemically attributed to Mount Takahe in West Antarctica. Rather than a coincidence, we postulate that halogen-catalyzed stratospheric ozone depletion over Antarctica triggered large-scale atmospheric circulation and hydroclimate changes similar to the modern Antarctic ozone hole, explaining the synchronicity and abruptness of accelerated Southern Hemisphere deglaciation.

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