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Southern Ocean warming and Wilkes Land ice sheet retreat during the mid-Miocene

Southern Ocean warming and Wilkes Land ice sheet retreat during the mid-Miocene
Southern Ocean warming and Wilkes Land ice sheet retreat during the mid-Miocene

Observations and model experiments highlight the importance of ocean heat in forcing ice sheet retreat during the present and geological past, but past ocean temperature data are virtually missing in ice sheet proximal locations. Here we document paleoceanographic conditions and the (in)stability of the Wilkes Land subglacial basin (East Antarctica) during the mid-Miocene (~17-13.4 million years ago) by studying sediment cores from offshore Adélie Coast. Inland retreat of the ice sheet, temperate vegetation, and warm oligotrophic waters characterise the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO; 17-14.8 Ma). After the MCO, expansion of a marine-based ice sheet occurs, but remains sensitive to melting upon episodic warm water incursions. Our results suggest that the mid-Miocene latitudinal temperature gradient across the Southern Ocean never resembled that of the present day. We demonstrate that a strong coupling of oceanic climate and Antarctic continental conditions existed and that the East Antarctic subglacial basins were highly sensitive to ocean warming.

Sangiorgi, Francesca
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Bijl, Peter K.
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Passchier, Sandra
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Salzmann, Ulrich
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Schouten, Stefan
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McKay, Robert
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Cody, Rosemary D.
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Pross, Jörg
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Van De Flierdt, Tina
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Bohaty, Steven M.
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Levy, Richard
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Williams, Trevor
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Escutia, Carlota
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Brinkhuis, Henk
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Sangiorgi, Francesca
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Bijl, Peter K.
fe283896-4066-490e-81b5-3212d00ef810
Passchier, Sandra
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Salzmann, Ulrich
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Schouten, Stefan
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McKay, Robert
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Cody, Rosemary D.
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Pross, Jörg
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Van De Flierdt, Tina
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Bohaty, Steven M.
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Levy, Richard
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Williams, Trevor
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Escutia, Carlota
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Brinkhuis, Henk
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Sangiorgi, Francesca, Bijl, Peter K., Passchier, Sandra, Salzmann, Ulrich, Schouten, Stefan, McKay, Robert, Cody, Rosemary D., Pross, Jörg, Van De Flierdt, Tina, Bohaty, Steven M., Levy, Richard, Williams, Trevor, Escutia, Carlota and Brinkhuis, Henk (2018) Southern Ocean warming and Wilkes Land ice sheet retreat during the mid-Miocene. Nature Communications, 9 (1), [317]. (doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02609-7).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Observations and model experiments highlight the importance of ocean heat in forcing ice sheet retreat during the present and geological past, but past ocean temperature data are virtually missing in ice sheet proximal locations. Here we document paleoceanographic conditions and the (in)stability of the Wilkes Land subglacial basin (East Antarctica) during the mid-Miocene (~17-13.4 million years ago) by studying sediment cores from offshore Adélie Coast. Inland retreat of the ice sheet, temperate vegetation, and warm oligotrophic waters characterise the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO; 17-14.8 Ma). After the MCO, expansion of a marine-based ice sheet occurs, but remains sensitive to melting upon episodic warm water incursions. Our results suggest that the mid-Miocene latitudinal temperature gradient across the Southern Ocean never resembled that of the present day. We demonstrate that a strong coupling of oceanic climate and Antarctic continental conditions existed and that the East Antarctic subglacial basins were highly sensitive to ocean warming.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 13 December 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 January 2018
Published date: 22 January 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417624
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417624
PURE UUID: c006a787-0e5b-4b68-9dee-357c7f19f95c
ORCID for Steven M. Bohaty: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1193-7398

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Date deposited: 07 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:23

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Contributors

Author: Francesca Sangiorgi
Author: Peter K. Bijl
Author: Sandra Passchier
Author: Ulrich Salzmann
Author: Stefan Schouten
Author: Robert McKay
Author: Rosemary D. Cody
Author: Jörg Pross
Author: Tina Van De Flierdt
Author: Richard Levy
Author: Trevor Williams
Author: Carlota Escutia
Author: Henk Brinkhuis

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