Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/124687
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Type: Journal article
Title: Early Last Interglacial ocean warming drove substantial ice mass loss from Antarctica
Author: Turney, C.S.M.
Fogwill, C.J.
Golledge, N.R.
McKay, N.P.
van Sebille, E.
Jones, R.T.
Etheridge, D.
Rubino, M.
Thornton, D.P.
Davies, S.M.
Ramsey, C.B.
Thomas, Z.A.
Bird, M.I.
Munksgaard, N.C.
Kohno, M.
Woodward, J.
Winter, K.
Weyrich, L.S.
Rootes, C.M.
Millman, H.
et al.
Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 2020; 117(8):3996-4006
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 0027-8424
1091-6490
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Chris S. M. Turney, Christopher J. Fogwill, Nicholas R. Golledge ... Alan Cooper ... Laura Weyrich ... Jennifer Young ... et al.
Abstract: The future response of the Antarctic ice sheet to rising temperatures remains highly uncertain. A useful period for assessing the sensitivity of Antarctica to warming is the Last Interglacial (LIG) (129 to 116 ky), which experienced warmer polar temperatures and higher global mean sea level (GMSL) (+6 to 9 m) relative to present day. LIG sea level cannot be fully explained by Greenland Ice Sheet melt (∼2 m), ocean thermal expansion, and melting mountain glaciers (∼1 m), suggesting substantial Antarctic mass loss was initiated by warming of Southern Ocean waters, resulting from a weakening Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in response to North Atlantic surface freshening. Here, we report a blue-ice record of ice sheet and environmental change from the Weddell Sea Embayment at the periphery of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which is underlain by major methane hydrate reserves. Constrained by a widespread volcanic horizon and supported by ancient microbial DNA analyses, we provide evidence for substantial mass loss across the Weddell Sea Embayment during the LIG, most likely driven by ocean warming and associated with destabilization of subglacial hydrates. Ice sheet modeling supports this interpretation and suggests that millennial-scale warming of the Southern Ocean could have triggered a multimeter rise in global sea levels. Our data indicate that Antarctica is highly vulnerable to projected increases in ocean temperatures and may drive ice-climate feedbacks that further amplify warming.
Keywords: Antarctic ice sheets
marine ice sheet instability (MISI)
paleoclimatology
polar amplification
tipping element
Rights: © 2020 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1902469117
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/LP120200724
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Environment Institute publications

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