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Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the last glacial maximum

January 1, 2011

The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood. We develop a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates that the advance to and retreat from their maximum extent was within dating uncertainties synchronous with most sectors of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Surface climate forcing of Antarctic mass balance would probably cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Our new data support teleconnections involving sea-level forcing from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and changes in North Atlantic deep-water formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines to synchronize the hemispheric ice sheets.

Publication Year 2011
Title Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the last glacial maximum
DOI 10.1126/science.1209299
Authors Michael E. Weber, Peter U. Clark, Werner Ricken, Jerry X. Mitrovica, Steven W. Hostetler, Gerhard Kuhn
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70005652
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Branch of Regional Research-Western Region