The Mid-Brunhes Event and West Antarctic ice sheet stability
Article first published online: 13 JUN 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Quaternary Science
Volume 26, Issue 5, pages 474–477, July 2011
How to Cite
Holden, P. B., Edwards, N. R., Wolff, E. W., Valdes, P. J. and Singarayer, J. S. (2011), The Mid-Brunhes Event and West Antarctic ice sheet stability. J. Quaternary Sci., 26: 474–477. doi: 10.1002/jqs.1525
- Issue published online: 24 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 13 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 4 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Received: 28 OCT 2010
- Mid-Brunhes Event;
- West Antarctic Ice Sheet;
- glacial cycles;
The complex cyclical nature of Pleistocene climate, driven by the evolving orbital configuration of the Earth, is well known but not well understood. A major climatic transition took place at the Mid-Brunhes Event (MBE), ca. 430 ka ago after which the amplitude of the ca.100 ka climate oscillations increased, with substantially warmer interglacials, including periods warmer than present. Recent modelling has indicated that while the timing of these warmer-than-present transient (WPT) events is consistent with southern warming due to a deglaciation-forced slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, the magnitude of warming requires a local amplification, for which a candidate is the feedback of significant West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) retreat. We here extend this argument, based on the absence of WPTs in the early ice core record (450–800 ka ago), to hypothesize that the MBE could be a manifestation of decreased WAIS stability, triggered by ongoing subglacial erosion. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.