The origin and flux of icebergs released into the Last Glacial Maximum Northern Hemisphere oceans: the impact of ice-sheet topography

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Abstract

The precipitation fields of a palaeoatmospheric general circulation model are used to derive estimates of the geographical distribution, and flux, of icebergs from the Laurentide, Fennoscandinavian and eastern Siberian ice-sheets at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The atmospheric model fields from LGM simulations using CLIMAP or Peltier (ICE-4G) ice orography were studied, to test the sensitivity of the predicted flux. The estimated Northern Hemispheric LGM iceberg flux is 3500–4000 km3 yr−1, of which about 60% issued directly into the North Atlantic. The iceberg flux from the St Lawrence area is of similar significance to that issuing from Hudson Strait in all estimates. Both the North Pacific and the Arctic received substantial iceberg fluxes (ca. 700 km3 yr−1), with relatively minor differences occurring between the two ice-sheet reconstructions. Apparent discrepancies between Arctic deep-sea core samples of ice-rafted debris and our estimates of mean glacial iceberg flux may be ascribed to coastal trapping of bergs, the existence of floating ice tongues or a rapid exit of icebergs from the Arctic basin into the Greenland Sea through the Fram Strait. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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