Mid-Holocene pulse of thinning in the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet

Hein, A. S., Marrero, S. M., Woodward, J., Dunning, S. A., Winter, K., Westoby, M. J., Freeman, S. P. H. T. , Shanks, R. P. and Sugden, D. E. (2016) Mid-Holocene pulse of thinning in the Weddell Sea sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Nature Communications, 7, 12511. (doi: 10.1038/ncomms12511) (PMID:27545202) (PMCID:PMC4996935)

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Abstract

Establishing the trajectory of thinning of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) since the last glacial maximum (LGM) is important for addressing questions concerning ice sheet (in)stability and changes in global sea level. Here we present detailed geomorphological and cosmogenic nuclide data from the southern Ellsworth Mountains in the heart of the Weddell Sea embayment that suggest the ice sheet, nourished by increased snowfall until the early Holocene, was close to its LGM thickness at 10 ka. A pulse of rapid thinning caused the ice elevation to fall ~400 m to the present level at 6.5–3.5 ka, and could have contributed 1.4–2 m to global sea-level rise. These results imply that the Weddell Sea sector of the WAIS contributed little to late-glacial pulses in sea-level rise but was involved in mid-Holocene rises. The stepped decline is argued to reflect marine downdraw triggered by grounding line retreat into Hercules Inlet.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shanks, Dr Richard and Freeman, Professor Stewart
Authors: Hein, A. S., Marrero, S. M., Woodward, J., Dunning, S. A., Winter, K., Westoby, M. J., Freeman, S. P. H. T., Shanks, R. P., and Sugden, D. E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Published Online:22 August 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 7:12511
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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