Holocene changes in Antarctic Ice Sheet extent
DESCRIPTION: Knowledge of past changaes in the extent of ice sheets can help to improve the way numerical models represent the physical processes that are known to control ice-sheet change and uncover new important processes. Our work in this area includes ice-penetrating radar and seismic surveys, radiocarbon recovered in cores, and a range of modelling approaches. In 2018 a collaboration between 10 scientists from 5 institutions across 3 countries, lead to a paper presenting strong evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was smaller than it is today during the Holocene, in both the Weddell Sea and Ross Sea sectors. We hypothesized that this was due to the delayed response of the lithosphere to unloading following the Last Glacial Maximum. The evidence came from ice-penetrating radar, and radiocarbon fond in subglacial sediments and we examined the implications of and controls on the readvance using a continent-wide ice-sheet model. This work is reported in Nature (Kingslake, Scherer, Albrecht et al., 2018).
OUTCOMES: Our paper reporting evidence for readvance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Holocene (Kingslake, Scherer and Albrecht et al., 2018, Nature) was cited in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.