New multiproxy marine data of the Eemian interglacial (MIS5e) from the Norwegian Sea manifest a cold event with near-glacial surface ocean summer temperatures (3-4 °C). This mid-Eemian cooling divided the otherwise relatively warm interglacial climate and was associated with widespread expansions of winter sea-ice and polar water masses due to changes in atmospheric circulation and ocean stability. While the data also verify a late rather than early last interglacial warm peak, which is in general disharmony with northern hemisphere insolation maximum and the regional climatic progression of the early Holocene, the cold event itself was likely instrumental for delaying the last interglacial climate development in the Polar North when compared with regions farther south. Such a 'climatic decoupling' of the Polar region may bear profound implications for the employment of Eemian conditions to help evaluate the present and future state of the Arctic cryosphere during a warming interglacial. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
- Last interglacial
- Paleoclimate analog