Post-glacial regional climate variability along the East Antarctic coastal margin – evidence from shallow marine and coastal terrestrial records

We review the post-glacial climate variability along the East Antarctic coastline using terrestrial and shallow marine geological records and compare these reconstructions with data from elsewhere. Nearly all East Antarctic records show a near-synchronous Early Holocene climate optimum (11.5-9 ka BP), coinciding with the deglaciation of currently ice-free regions and the optimum recorded in Antarctic ice and marine sediment cores. Shallow marine and coastal terrestrial climate anomalies appear to be out of phase after the Early Holocene warm period, and show complex regional patterns, but an overall trend of cooling in the terrestrial records. A Mid to Late Holocene warm period is present in many East Antarctic lake and shallow coastal marine records. Although there are some differences in the regional timing of this warm period, it typically occurs somewhere between 4.7 and 1 ka BP, which overlaps with a similar optimum found in Antarctic Peninsula terrestrial records. The differences in the timing of these sometimes abrupt warm events in different records and regions points to a number of mechanisms that we have yet to identify. Nearly all records show a neoglacial cooling from 2 ka BP onwards. There is no evidence along the East Antarctic coastline for an equivalent to the Northern Hemisphere Medieval Warm Period and there is only weak circumstantial evidence in a few places for a cool event crudely equivalent in time to the Northern Hemisphere's Little Ice Age. There is a need for well-dated, high resolution climate records in coastal East Antarctica and particularly in Terre Adelie, Dronning Maud Land and Enderby Land to fully understand the regional climate anomalies, the disparity between marine and terrestrial records, and to determine the significance of the heterogeneous temperature trends being measured in the Antarctic today.


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Authors: Verleyen, Elie, Hodgson, Dominic A. ORCIDORCID record for Dominic A. Hodgson, Koen, Sabbe, Holger, Cremer, Emslie, Steven D., Gibson, John, Hall, Brenda, Imura, Satoshi, Kudoh, Sakae, Marshall, Gareth J. ORCIDORCID record for Gareth J. Marshall, McMinn, Andrew, Melles, Martin, Newman, Louise, Roberts, Donna, Roberts, Steve J. ORCIDORCID record for Steve J. Roberts, Singh, Shiv M., Sterken, Mieke, Tavernier, Ines, Verkulich, Sergey, Van de Vyver, Evelien, Van Nieuwenhuyze, Wim, Wagner, Bernd, Vyverman, Wim

On this site: Dominic Hodgson, Gareth Marshall, Stephen Roberts
1 January, 2011
Earth-Science Reviews / 104
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