Jones, RS and Mackintosh, AN and Norton, KP and Golledge, NR and Fogwill, CJ and Kubik, PW and Christl, M and Greenwood, SL (2015) Rapid Holocene thinning of an East Antarctic outlet glacier driven by marine ice sheet instability. Nature Communications, 6. 8910 -?. ISSN 2041-1723

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Abstract

Outlet glaciers grounded on a bed that deepens inland and extends below sea level are potentially vulnerable to 'marine ice sheet instability'. This instability, which may lead to runaway ice loss, has been simulated in models, but its consequences have not been directly observed in geological records. Here we provide new surface-exposure ages from an outlet of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that reveal rapid glacier thinning occurred approximately 7,000 years ago, in the absence of large environmental changes. Glacier thinning persisted for more than two and a half centuries, resulting in hundreds of metres of ice loss. Numerical simulations indicate that ice surface drawdown accelerated when the otherwise steadily retreating glacier encountered a bedrock trough. Together, the geological reconstruction and numerical simulations suggest that centennial-scale glacier thinning arose from unstable grounding line retreat. Capturing these instability processes in ice sheet models is important for predicting Antarctica's future contribution to sea level change.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Nature Publishing Group at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9910 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 14:52
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2017 10:18
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4031

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