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Rapid early Holocene deglaciation of the Laurentide ice sheet

Carlson, Anders E. and LeGrande, Allegra N. and Oppo, Delia W. and Came, Rosemarie E. and Schmidt, Gavin A. and Anslow, Faron S. and Licciardi, Joseph M. and Obbink, Elizabeth A. (2008) Rapid early Holocene deglaciation of the Laurentide ice sheet. Nature Geoscience, 1 (9). pp. 620-624. ISSN 1752-0894. doi:10.1038/ngeo285.

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The demise of the Laurentide ice sheet during the early Holocene epoch is the most recent and best constrained disappearance of a large ice sheet in the Northern Hemisphere, and thus allows an assessment of rates of ice-sheet decay as well as attendant contributions to sea level rise. Here, we use terrestrial and marine records of the deglaciation to identify two periods of rapid melting during the final demise of the Laurentide ice sheet, when melting ice contributed about 1.3 and 0.7 cm of sea level rise per year, respectively. Our simulations with a fully coupled ocean–atmosphere model suggest that increased ablation due to enhanced early Holocene boreal summer insolation was the predominant cause of Laurentide ice-sheet retreat. Although the surface radiative forcing in boreal summer during the early Holocene is twice as large as the greenhouse-gas forcing expected by the year 2100, the associated increase in summer surface air temperatures is very similar. We conclude that our geologic evidence for a rapid retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet may therefore describe a prehistoric precedent for mass balance changes of the Greenland ice sheet over the coming century.

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Additional Information:© 2008 Nature Publishing Group. Received 3 April 2008; accepted 28 July 2008; published 31 August 2008. We would like to thank J. Stoner for discussion of Orphan Knoll cores, and L. Keigwin and L. Skinner for sharing data. This research was financially supported by National Science Foundation grants ATM-05-01351 & ATM-05-01241 to D.W.O. and G.A.S., start-up funds from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Postdoctoral Scholarship to A.E.C., and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ocean and Climate Change Institute (D.W.O. and R.E.C.). Author contributions: A.E.C. compiled terrestrial and marine records of LIS retreat. A.N.L. and G.A.S. developed the AOGCM model. A.N.L. initiated and analysed the 9 kyr BP simulations. A.N.L., G.A.S., A.E.C. and J.M.L. designed model boundary conditions. A.E.C., R.E.C., E.A.O. and D.W.O. compiled oxygen isotope data. A.N.L., A.E.C. and F.S.A. interpreted LIS mass balance. All authors collaborated on the text. Supplementary Information accompanies this paper on
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National Science FoundationATM-05-01351
National Science FoundationATM-05-01241
University of Wisconsin-MadisonUNSPECIFIED
Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:CARng08
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ID Code:11752
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:23 Sep 2008 02:15
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:02

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