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Publication . Article . Other literature type . 2013

Iceberg discharges of the last glacial period driven by oceanic circulation changes

Jorge Alvarez-Solas; Alexander Robinson; Marisa Montoya; Catherine Ritz;
Open Access
Published: 23 Sep 2013 Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 110, pages 16,350-16,354 (issn: 0027-8424, eissn: 1091-6490, Copyright policy )
Publisher: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country: Spain

Proxy data reveal the existence of episodes of increased deposition of ice-rafted detritus in the North Atlantic Ocean during the last glacial period interpreted as massive iceberg discharges from the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Although these have long been attributed to self-sustained ice sheet oscillations, growing evidence of the crucial role that the ocean plays both for past and future behavior of the cryosphere suggests a climatic control of these ice surges. Here, we present simulations of the last glacial period carried out with a hybrid ice sheet–ice shelf model forced by an oceanic warming index derived from proxy data that accounts for the impact of past ocean circulation changes on ocean temperatures. The model generates a time series of iceberg discharge that closely agrees with ice-rafted debris records over the past 80 ka, indicating that oceanic circulation variations were responsible for the enigmatic ice purges of the last ice age.

Peer reviewed

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Geology Sea ice geography.geographical_feature_category geography Ice-sheet model Ice sheet Iceberg Deglaciation Climatology Arctic ice pack Antarctic sea ice Oceanography Ice stream


Multidisciplinary, Física atmosférica, Physical Sciences, Atlantic Ocean, Climate Change, Computer Simulation, Ice Cover, Models, Theoretical, Water Movements, Física atmosférica, Glacial climate variability, Climate modeling, Abrupt changes, Glacial climate variability, Climate modeling, Abrupt changes

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Funded by
Climate change - Learning from the past climate
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 243908
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV
Validated by funder
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