Examining Holocene stability of Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves

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Abstract

Temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula are increasing at a rate of 3.4°C per century, more than five times the global mean. At the same time, the region's ice shelves have retreated and collapsed, with an area of more than 14,000 square kilometers disappearing within the past two decades. Ice shelf retreat has followed the southward migration of the −9°C mean annual isotherm, referred to as the ‘climatic limit of ice shelf stability’ (Figure 1).Thus, present-day ice shelf retreats on the Antarctic Peninsula have been linked to increased atmospheric temperature [Vaughan et al., 2003].

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