The Last Interglacial was a period of the Earth’s geological history (between 130 000 and 115 000 years BP) characterized by a climate warmer than today, with a higher global sea level and smaller ice-sheets. It is regarded as an important period for investigating the ice-sheet sensitivity to climate change in a global warming scenario.
The Last Interglacial (LIG) was a period of the Earth’s geological history (between 130 000 and 115 000 years BP) characterized by a climate warmer than today, with a higher global sea level and smaller ice-sheets. During the LIG, polar temperatures were ~3-5 °C higher than today , the global sea level was at least 6.6 m above present  and the global surface temperature was ~ 1 °C warmer compared to the pre-industrial era (~ 1850-1900) .
A few interesting analogies exist between the Last Interglacial climate and the Earth’s future climate. For example, the IPCC projections  of future climate change show that, by the end of the 21st century, the global surface temperature is likely to increase by 1.5 °C (or more) relative to the pre-industrial era. Furthermore, this global warming will be accompanied by a 3-6 °C Artic warming and by a global mean sea level rise of 0.55m to 0.98m (depending on the emissions scenario).
Although the warmer last interglacial climate was caused by changes in the Earth’s orbital configuration, and the predicted global warming is a response to greenhouse gas emissions, the Last Interglacial is regarded as an important period for investigating the ice-sheet sensitivity to climate change in a global warming scenario.
In this project, we will investigate the substantial retreat (of 50-60%) of Antarctic sea ice between 130 000 and 116 000 years Before Present (BP) . This major retreat compares with IPCC model-based predictions of a future sea ice retreat. In particular, according to the most recent IPCC report, current climate models predict a reduction of the Antarctic sea ice of about 50–60% by the next two centuries.
We will use the UK Earth System Model (UKESM1) to simulate the SH sea ice and test the following hypotheses on the causes of the LIG sea ice retreat:
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