Orbital forcing of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene and Early Pleistocene

IODP Expedition 318 Scientists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, between 5.3 and 0.8 million years ago, span a transition from a global climate state that was 2-3 °C warmer than present with limited ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere to one that was characterized by continental-scale glaciations at both poles. Growth and decay of these ice sheets was paced by variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, the nature of the influence of orbital forcing on the ice sheets is unclear, particularly in light of the absence of a strong 20,000-year precession signal in geologic records of global ice volume and sea level. Here we present a record of the rate of accumulation of iceberg-rafted debris oshore from the East Antarctic ice sheet, adjacent to the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, between 4.3 and 2.2 million years ago. We infer that maximum iceberg debris accumulation is associated with the enhanced calving of icebergs during ice-sheet margin retreat. In the warmer part of the record, between 4.3 and 3.5 million years ago, spectral analyses show a dominant periodicity of about 40,000 years. Subsequently, the powers of the 100,000-year and 20,000-year signals strengthen. We suggest that, as the Southern Ocean cooled between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago, the development of a perennial sea-ice field limited the oceanic forcing of the ice sheet. After this threshold was crossed, substantial retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet occurred only during austral summer insolation maxima, as controlled by the precession cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-847
Number of pages7
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2014

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orbital forcing
ice sheet
Pliocene
Pleistocene
iceberg
precession
ice field
insolation
periodicity
glaciation
sea ice
global climate
Northern Hemisphere
sea level
ice
ocean
summer
basin

Cite this

IODP Expedition 318 Scientists. / Orbital forcing of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene and Early Pleistocene. In: Nature Geoscience. 2014 ; Vol. 7, No. 11. pp. 841-847.
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abstract = "The Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, between 5.3 and 0.8 million years ago, span a transition from a global climate state that was 2-3 °C warmer than present with limited ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere to one that was characterized by continental-scale glaciations at both poles. Growth and decay of these ice sheets was paced by variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, the nature of the influence of orbital forcing on the ice sheets is unclear, particularly in light of the absence of a strong 20,000-year precession signal in geologic records of global ice volume and sea level. Here we present a record of the rate of accumulation of iceberg-rafted debris oshore from the East Antarctic ice sheet, adjacent to the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, between 4.3 and 2.2 million years ago. We infer that maximum iceberg debris accumulation is associated with the enhanced calving of icebergs during ice-sheet margin retreat. In the warmer part of the record, between 4.3 and 3.5 million years ago, spectral analyses show a dominant periodicity of about 40,000 years. Subsequently, the powers of the 100,000-year and 20,000-year signals strengthen. We suggest that, as the Southern Ocean cooled between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago, the development of a perennial sea-ice field limited the oceanic forcing of the ice sheet. After this threshold was crossed, substantial retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet occurred only during austral summer insolation maxima, as controlled by the precession cycle.",
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Orbital forcing of the East Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene and Early Pleistocene. / IODP Expedition 318 Scientists.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 7, No. 11, 05.11.2014, p. 841-847.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - IODP Expedition 318 Scientists

AU - Patterson, M. O.

AU - McKay, R.

AU - Naish, T.

AU - Escutia, C.

AU - Jimenez-Espejo, F. J.

AU - Raymo, M. E.

AU - Meyers, S. R.

AU - Tauxe, L.

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AU - Klaus, A.

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AU - Bendle, J. A.P.

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AU - Carr, S. A.

AU - Dunbar, R. B.

AU - Flores, J. A.

AU - Gonzalez, J. J.

AU - Hayden, T. G.

AU - Iwai, M.

AU - Katsuki, K.

AU - Kong, G. S.

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AU - Passchier, Sandra

AU - Pekar, S. F.

AU - Pross, J.

AU - Riesselman, C. R.

AU - Röhl, U.

AU - Sakai, T.

AU - Shrivastava, P. K.

AU - Stickley, C. E.

AU - Sugasaki, S.

AU - Tuo, S.

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AU - Welsh, K.

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N2 - The Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, between 5.3 and 0.8 million years ago, span a transition from a global climate state that was 2-3 °C warmer than present with limited ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere to one that was characterized by continental-scale glaciations at both poles. Growth and decay of these ice sheets was paced by variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, the nature of the influence of orbital forcing on the ice sheets is unclear, particularly in light of the absence of a strong 20,000-year precession signal in geologic records of global ice volume and sea level. Here we present a record of the rate of accumulation of iceberg-rafted debris oshore from the East Antarctic ice sheet, adjacent to the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, between 4.3 and 2.2 million years ago. We infer that maximum iceberg debris accumulation is associated with the enhanced calving of icebergs during ice-sheet margin retreat. In the warmer part of the record, between 4.3 and 3.5 million years ago, spectral analyses show a dominant periodicity of about 40,000 years. Subsequently, the powers of the 100,000-year and 20,000-year signals strengthen. We suggest that, as the Southern Ocean cooled between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago, the development of a perennial sea-ice field limited the oceanic forcing of the ice sheet. After this threshold was crossed, substantial retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet occurred only during austral summer insolation maxima, as controlled by the precession cycle.

AB - The Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, between 5.3 and 0.8 million years ago, span a transition from a global climate state that was 2-3 °C warmer than present with limited ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere to one that was characterized by continental-scale glaciations at both poles. Growth and decay of these ice sheets was paced by variations in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, the nature of the influence of orbital forcing on the ice sheets is unclear, particularly in light of the absence of a strong 20,000-year precession signal in geologic records of global ice volume and sea level. Here we present a record of the rate of accumulation of iceberg-rafted debris oshore from the East Antarctic ice sheet, adjacent to the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, between 4.3 and 2.2 million years ago. We infer that maximum iceberg debris accumulation is associated with the enhanced calving of icebergs during ice-sheet margin retreat. In the warmer part of the record, between 4.3 and 3.5 million years ago, spectral analyses show a dominant periodicity of about 40,000 years. Subsequently, the powers of the 100,000-year and 20,000-year signals strengthen. We suggest that, as the Southern Ocean cooled between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago, the development of a perennial sea-ice field limited the oceanic forcing of the ice sheet. After this threshold was crossed, substantial retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet occurred only during austral summer insolation maxima, as controlled by the precession cycle.

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U2 - 10.1038/ngeo2273

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