Holocene thinning of the Greenland ice sheet

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2009Researchpeer-review

Without internal affiliation

DOI

  • Author: Vinther, B. M.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Buchardt, S. L.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Clausen, H. B.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Dahl-Jensen, D.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Johnsen, S. J.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Fisher, D. A.

    Geological Survey of Canada, Canada

  • Author: Koerner, R. M.

    Geological Survey of Canada, Canada

  • Author: Raynaud, D.

    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France

  • Author: Lipenkov, V.

    Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Russian Federation

  • Author: Andersen, Katrine Krogh

    University of Copenhagen

  • Author: Blunier, T.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Rasmussen, S. O.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Steffensen, J. P.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Author: Svensson, A. M.

    University of Copenhagen, Denmark

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On entering an era of global warming, the stability of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) is an important concern1, especially in the light of new evidence of rapidly changing flow and melt conditions at the GIS margins2. Studying the response of the GIS to past climatic change may help to advance our understanding of GIS dynamics. The previous interpretation of evidence from stable isotopes (δ18O) in water from GIS ice cores was that Holocene climate variability on the GIS differed spatially3 and that a consistent Holocene climate optimum-the unusually warm period from about 9,000 to 6,000 years ago found in many northern-latitude palaeoclimate records4-did not exist. Here we extract both the Greenland Holocene temperature history and the evolution of GIS surface elevation at four GIS locations. We achieve this by comparing delta O-18 from GIS ice cores(3,5) with δ18O from ice cores from small marginal icecaps. Contrary to the earlier interpretation of δ18O evidence from ice cores3,6, our new temperature history reveals a pronounced Holocene climatic optimum in Greenland coinciding with maximum thinning near the GIS margins. Our δ18O-based results are corroborated by the air content of ice cores, a proxy for surface elevation7. State-of-the-art ice sheet models are generally found to be underestimating the extent and changes in GIS elevation and area; our findings may help to improve the ability of models to reproduce the GIS response to Holocene climate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature
Volume461
Issue number7262
Pages (from-to)385-388
Number of pages4
ISSN0028-0836
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

ID: 130069911