Greenland tidewater glacier advanced rapidly during era of Norse settlement

Pearce, D. M. et al. (2022) Greenland tidewater glacier advanced rapidly during era of Norse settlement. Geology, 50(6), pp. 704-709. (doi: 10.1130/g49644.1)

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Our ability to improve prognostic modeling of the Greenland Ice Sheet relies on understanding the long-term relationships between climate and mass flux (via iceberg calving) from marine-terminating tidewater glaciers (TWGs). Observations of recent TWG behavior are widely available, but long-term records of TWG advance are currently lacking. We present glacial geomorphological, sedimentological, archaeological, and modeling data to reconstruct the ~20 km advance of Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS; the largest tidewater glacier in southwest Greenland) during the first half of the past millennium. The data show that KNS advanced ~15 km during the 12th and 13th centuries CE at a rate of ~115 m a–1, contemporaneous with regional climate cooling toward the Little Ice Age and comparable to rates of TWG retreat witnessed over the past ~200 years. Presence of Norse farmsteads proximal to KNS demonstrates their resilience to climate change, manifest as a rapidly advancing TWG in a cooling climate. The results place limits on the magnitude of ice-margin advance and demonstrate TWG sensitivity to climate cooling as well as warming. These data combined with our grounding-line stability analysis provide a long-term record that validates approaches to numerical modeling aiming to link calving to climate.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamenos, Professor Nick
Authors: Pearce, D. M., Lea, J. M., Mair, D. W.F., Rea, B. R., Schofield, J. E., Kamenos, N. A., Schoenrock, K. M., Stachnik, L., Lewis, B., Barr, I., and Mottram, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Geology
Publisher:Geological Society of America
ISSN (Online):1943-2682
Published Online:24 March 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Geological Society of America
First Published:First published in Geology 50(6): 704-709
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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