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Mon, Feb

North American Ice Sheet Decay Changed Antarctic Climate

Typography

New research led by CU Boulder shows that the changing topography of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere during the last Ice Age forced changes in the climate of Antarctica, a previously undocumented inter-polar climate change mechanism.

The new study—published today in the journal Nature and co-authored by researchers at the University of Bristol, University of Washington and UC Berkeley—suggests that substantial reduction of the Laurentide Ice Sheet that covered much of present-day North America approximately 16,000 years ago resulted in significant climate variations in the tropical Pacific and in West Antarctica.

“The results demonstrate how seemingly localized effects in one part of the world may have a large impact on climate elsewhere on Earth,” said Tyler Jones, a research associate in CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) and the lead author of the new study.

Jones and his colleagues studied an ice core collected from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in order to document historical climate. The WAIS ice core is the first climate record to preserve year-to-year climate variability continuously as far back as 30,000 years ago.

Read more at University of Colorado at Boulder