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A new sea-level record for the Neogene/Quaternary boundary reveals transition to a more stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet

A new sea-level record for the Neogene/Quaternary boundary reveals transition to a more stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet
A new sea-level record for the Neogene/Quaternary boundary reveals transition to a more stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet

 Sea-level rise resulting from the instability of polar continental ice sheets represents a major socioeconomic hazard arising from anthropogenic warming, but the response of the largest component of Earth’s cryosphere, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), to global warming is poorly understood. Here we present a detailed record of North Atlantic deep-ocean temperature, global sea-level, and ice-volume change for ∼2.75 to 2.4 Ma ago, when atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) ranged from present- day (>400 parts per million volume, ppmv) to preindustrial (<280 ppmv) values. Our data reveal clear glacial–interglacial cycles in global ice volume and sea level largely driven by the growth and decay of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet, sea-level values during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 101 (∼2.55 Ma) also signal substantial melting of the EAIS, and peak sea levels during MIS G7 (∼2.75 Ma) and, perhaps, MIS G1 (∼2.63 Ma) are also suggestive of EAIS instability. During the succeeding glacial–interglacial cycles (MIS 100 to 95), sea levels were distinctly lower than before, strongly suggesting a link between greater stability of the EAIS and increased land-ice volumes in the Northern Hemisphere. We propose that lower sea levels driven by ice-sheet growth in the Northern Hemisphere decreased EAIS susceptibility to ocean melting. Our findings have implications for future EAIS vulnerability to a rapidly warming world.

East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation, Ocean-cryosphere interaction, Sea level
0027-8424
30980-30987
Jakob, Kim A.
8c240dc3-b25a-4bd4-a9c1-b8436f1e6ffa
Wilson, Paul A.
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Pross, Jörg
7c848424-852f-467b-90f0-19d4f8d4ae01
Ezard, Thomas H. G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Fiebig, Jens
2002fcc6-8c97-4f72-9f07-76efa9bd89ee
Repschläger, Janne
0ceb7a68-6cdb-4759-b8b3-93a962c10622
Friedrich, Oliver
30dc21d4-6581-4b89-96b1-c11689e85078
Jakob, Kim A.
8c240dc3-b25a-4bd4-a9c1-b8436f1e6ffa
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Pross, Jörg
7c848424-852f-467b-90f0-19d4f8d4ae01
Ezard, Thomas H. G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Fiebig, Jens
2002fcc6-8c97-4f72-9f07-76efa9bd89ee
Repschläger, Janne
0ceb7a68-6cdb-4759-b8b3-93a962c10622
Friedrich, Oliver
30dc21d4-6581-4b89-96b1-c11689e85078

Jakob, Kim A., Wilson, Paul A., Pross, Jörg, Ezard, Thomas H. G., Fiebig, Jens, Repschläger, Janne and Friedrich, Oliver (2020) A new sea-level record for the Neogene/Quaternary boundary reveals transition to a more stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (49), 30980-30987. (doi:10.1073/pnas.2004209117).

Record type: Article

Abstract

 Sea-level rise resulting from the instability of polar continental ice sheets represents a major socioeconomic hazard arising from anthropogenic warming, but the response of the largest component of Earth’s cryosphere, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), to global warming is poorly understood. Here we present a detailed record of North Atlantic deep-ocean temperature, global sea-level, and ice-volume change for ∼2.75 to 2.4 Ma ago, when atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) ranged from present- day (>400 parts per million volume, ppmv) to preindustrial (<280 ppmv) values. Our data reveal clear glacial–interglacial cycles in global ice volume and sea level largely driven by the growth and decay of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet, sea-level values during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 101 (∼2.55 Ma) also signal substantial melting of the EAIS, and peak sea levels during MIS G7 (∼2.75 Ma) and, perhaps, MIS G1 (∼2.63 Ma) are also suggestive of EAIS instability. During the succeeding glacial–interglacial cycles (MIS 100 to 95), sea levels were distinctly lower than before, strongly suggesting a link between greater stability of the EAIS and increased land-ice volumes in the Northern Hemisphere. We propose that lower sea levels driven by ice-sheet growth in the Northern Hemisphere decreased EAIS susceptibility to ocean melting. Our findings have implications for future EAIS vulnerability to a rapidly warming world.

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Accepted/In Press date: 19 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 November 2020
Published date: 8 December 2020
Keywords: East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation, Ocean-cryosphere interaction, Sea level

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445406
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445406
ISSN: 0027-8424
PURE UUID: 02e7d5c2-c795-47cc-97de-17592c41f918
ORCID for Thomas H. G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

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Date deposited: 07 Dec 2020 17:33
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 05:39

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Contributors

Author: Kim A. Jakob
Author: Paul A. Wilson
Author: Jörg Pross
Author: Thomas H. G. Ezard ORCID iD
Author: Jens Fiebig
Author: Janne Repschläger
Author: Oliver Friedrich

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