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Title: West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat driven by Holocene warm water incursions
Authors: Hillenbrand, C. D.
Smith, J. A.
Hodell, D. A.
Greaves, M
Poole, C. R.
Kender, S
Williams, Mark
Jernas, P. E.
Elderfield, H
Klages, J. P.
Roberts, S. J.
Gohl, K
Larter, R. D.
Kuhn, G
First Published: 5-Jul-2017
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Citation: Nature, 2017, 547, pp. 44-48
Abstract: Glaciological and oceanographic observations coupled with numerical models show that warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) incursions onto the West Antarctic continental shelf cause melting of the undersides of floating ice shelves. Because these ice shelves buttress glaciers feeding into them, their ocean-induced thinning is driving Antarctic ice-sheet retreat today. Here we present a multi-proxy data based reconstruction of variability in CDW inflow to the Amundsen Sea sector, the most vulnerable part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, during the Holocene epoch (from 11.7 thousand years ago to the present). The chemical compositions of foraminifer shells and benthic foraminifer assemblages in marine sediments indicate that enhanced CDW upwelling, controlled by the latitudinal position of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds, forced deglaciation of this sector from at least 10,400 years ago until 7,500 years ago—when an ice-shelf collapse may have caused rapid ice-sheet thinning further upstream—and since the 1940s. These results increase confidence in the predictive capability of current ice-sheet models.
DOI Link: 10.1038/nature22995
ISSN: 0028-0836
eISSN: 1476-4687
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, Nature Publishing Group. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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