Reversible ice sheet thinning in the Amundsen Sea Embayment during the Late Holocene

Greg Balco*, Nathan Brown, Keir Nichols, Ryan A. Venturelli, Jonathan Adams, Scott Braddock, Seth Campbell, Brent Goehring, Joanne S. Johnson, Dylan H. Rood, Klaus Wilcken, Brenda Hall, John Woodward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Cosmogenic-nuclide concentrations in subglacial bedrock cores show that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) at a site between Thwaites and Pope glaciers was at least 35g€¯m thinner than present in the past several thousand years and then subsequently thickened. This is important because of concern that present thinning and grounding line retreat at these and nearby glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment may irreversibly lead to deglaciation of significant portions of the WAIS, with decimeter-to meter-scale sea level rise within decades to centuries. A past episode of ice sheet thinning that took place in a similar, although not identical, climate was not irreversible. We propose that the past thinning-Thickening cycle was due to a glacioisostatic rebound feedback, similar to that invoked as a possible stabilizing mechanism for current grounding line retreat, in which isostatic uplift caused by Early Holocene thinning led to relative sea level fall favoring grounding line advance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1801
Number of pages15
JournalThe Cryosphere
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023

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