Reconstructing how massive continental glaciers (ice sheets) responded to past climate change is essential to understanding the role of the cryosphere in Earth’s climate system and for projecting sea level rise in future climate warming scenarios. However, data constraining past behavior of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are sparse, limiting study of its response to past, present and future climate change. A new analysis using cosmogenic multi-nuclide (10Be, 26Al, 36Cl) data from rock samples in East Antarctica found clear indications of a thicker-than-present ice sheet (150-300 meters) within the last glacial cycle, with a thinning of ~35-120 meters during the current geologic epoch. The work provides important constraints that should be considered in future ice-sheet model simulations.
Andersen, J.L, Newall, J.C., Blomdin, R., Sams, S.E., Fabel, D., Koesterm A.J., Lifton, N.A., et al. 2020. Ice surface changes during recent glacial cycles along the Jutulstraumen and Penck Trough ice streams in western Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 249, 1 December 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106636