Oceanic and atmospheric forcing of early Holocene ice shelf retreat, George VI Ice Shelf, Antarctica Peninsula
We use lake sediment records from an epishelf lake on Alexander Island to provide a detailed picture of the Holocene history of George VI Ice Shelf (GVI-IS). Core analyses included; micropaleontology (diatoms/foraminifera), stable isotope (δ18O, δ13C), geochemistry (total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), C/N ratios) and grain-size analyses. These data provide robust evidence for one period of past ice shelf absence during the early Holocene. The timing of this period has been constrained by 10 AMS 14C dates performed on mono-specific foraminifera samples. These dates suggest that GVI-IS was absent between c 9600 cal yr BP and c 7730 cal yr BP. This early Holocene collapse immediately followed a period of maximum Holocene warmth that is recorded in some Antarctic ice cores and coincides with an influx of warmer ocean water onto the western Antarctic Peninsula (AP) shelf at c 9000 cal yr BP. The absence of a currently extant ice shelf during this time interval suggests that early Holocene ocean-atmosphere variability in the AP was greater than that measured in recent decades.
Authors: Smith, James A., Bentley, Michael J., Hodgson, Dominic A., Roberts, Stephen J., Leng, Melanie J., Lloyd, Jeremy M., Barrett, Melissa S., Bryant, Charlotte, Sugden, David E.