Title: Holocene accumulation and ice sheet dynamics in central West Antarctica
Author: Neumann, T.A., Conway, H., Price, S.F., Waddington, E.D., Catania, G.A. and Morse, D.L.
Notes: Citation: Neumann, T.A., H. Conway, S.F. Price, E.D. Waddington, G.A. Catania, and D.L. Morse (2008), Holocene accumulation and ice sheet dynamics in central West Antarctica, J. Geophys. Res., 113, F02018, doi:10.1029/2007JF000764.
Periodical: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 113
Issue: F02018
Abstract: We derive depth-age relationships across the ice divide between the Ross and Amundsen Seas by tracking radar-detected layers from the Byrd ice core and a dated 105-m core near the divide. The depth-age relationships and an ice-flow model are used to establish histories of accumulation and ice sheet dynamics over the past 8000 years. Results show that accumulation was approximately 30% higher than today from 5000 to 3000 years ago. Antarctic climate variability today is dominated by periodic fluctuations in strength of the circumpolar vortex, which raises the possibility that the vortex was systematically weaker during the period of high accumulation. Accumulation today decreases almost linearly across the divide. It is unlikely that this pattern has changed through the Holocene. The radar-detected stratigraphy shows no evidence of the arched layers that are expected beneath a stable divide that is frozen to its bed, implying that the divide has also been migrating and/or the basal ice has been sliding through the Holocene. We cannot rule out the possibility of sliding because the basal ice is near its pressure melting point. Other evidence indicates that divide migration is likely. The Ross Sea sector is now near steady state, but it had a strong negative imbalance 200 years ago when Kamb Ice Stream was active. In contrast, recent speedups of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers have likely caused the mass balance of the Amundsen Sea sector to become negative. The divide is likely migrating toward the Ross Sea today.
Year: 2008
Keywords: climate change, glaciology, ice dynamics