Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations

T. Naish, R. Powell, R. Levy, G. Wilson, R. Scherer, F. Talarico, L. Krissek, F. Niessen, M. Pompilio, T. Wilson, L. Carter, R. DeConto, P. Huybers, R. McKay, D. Pollard, J. Ross, D. Winter, P. Barrett, G. Browne, R. CodyE. Cowan, J. Crampton, G. Dunbar, N. Dunbar, F. Florindo, C. Gebhardt, I. Graham, M. Hannah, D. Hansaraj, D. Harwood, D. Helling, S. Henrys, L. Hinnov, G. Kuhn, P. Kyle, A. Läufer, P. Maffioli, D. Magens, K. Mandernack, W. McIntosh, C. Millan, R. Morin, C. Ohneiser, T. Paulsen, D. Persico, I. Raine, J. Reed, C. Riesselman, L. Sagnotti, D. Schmitt, C. Sjunneskog, P. Strong, M. Taviani, S. Vogel, T. Wilch, T. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

381 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch (∼5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, ∼40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to ∼3°C warmer than today and atmospheric CO 2 concentration was as high as ∼400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-328
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume458
Issue number7236
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2009

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Ice Cover
Ice
Oceans and Seas
Freezing
Oxygen Isotopes
Global Warming
Temperature
Water
Military Personnel
Carbon Monoxide
Air

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Naish, T., Powell, R., Levy, R., Wilson, G., Scherer, R., Talarico, F., ... Williams, T. (2009). Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations. Nature, 458(7236), 322-328. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07867
Naish, T. ; Powell, R. ; Levy, R. ; Wilson, G. ; Scherer, R. ; Talarico, F. ; Krissek, L. ; Niessen, F. ; Pompilio, M. ; Wilson, T. ; Carter, L. ; DeConto, R. ; Huybers, P. ; McKay, R. ; Pollard, D. ; Ross, J. ; Winter, D. ; Barrett, P. ; Browne, G. ; Cody, R. ; Cowan, E. ; Crampton, J. ; Dunbar, G. ; Dunbar, N. ; Florindo, F. ; Gebhardt, C. ; Graham, I. ; Hannah, M. ; Hansaraj, D. ; Harwood, D. ; Helling, D. ; Henrys, S. ; Hinnov, L. ; Kuhn, G. ; Kyle, P. ; Läufer, A. ; Maffioli, P. ; Magens, D. ; Mandernack, K. ; McIntosh, W. ; Millan, C. ; Morin, R. ; Ohneiser, C. ; Paulsen, T. ; Persico, D. ; Raine, I. ; Reed, J. ; Riesselman, C. ; Sagnotti, L. ; Schmitt, D. ; Sjunneskog, C. ; Strong, P. ; Taviani, M. ; Vogel, S. ; Wilch, T. ; Williams, T. / Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations. In: Nature. 2009 ; Vol. 458, No. 7236. pp. 322-328.
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title = "Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations",
abstract = "Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch (∼5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, ∼40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to ∼3°C warmer than today and atmospheric CO 2 concentration was as high as ∼400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO2.",
author = "T. Naish and R. Powell and R. Levy and G. Wilson and R. Scherer and F. Talarico and L. Krissek and F. Niessen and M. Pompilio and T. Wilson and L. Carter and R. DeConto and P. Huybers and R. McKay and D. Pollard and J. Ross and D. Winter and P. Barrett and G. Browne and R. Cody and E. Cowan and J. Crampton and G. Dunbar and N. Dunbar and F. Florindo and C. Gebhardt and I. Graham and M. Hannah and D. Hansaraj and D. Harwood and D. Helling and S. Henrys and L. Hinnov and G. Kuhn and P. Kyle and A. L{\"a}ufer and P. Maffioli and D. Magens and K. Mandernack and W. McIntosh and C. Millan and R. Morin and C. Ohneiser and T. Paulsen and D. Persico and I. Raine and J. Reed and C. Riesselman and L. Sagnotti and D. Schmitt and C. Sjunneskog and P. Strong and M. Taviani and S. Vogel and T. Wilch and T. Williams",
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Naish, T, Powell, R, Levy, R, Wilson, G, Scherer, R, Talarico, F, Krissek, L, Niessen, F, Pompilio, M, Wilson, T, Carter, L, DeConto, R, Huybers, P, McKay, R, Pollard, D, Ross, J, Winter, D, Barrett, P, Browne, G, Cody, R, Cowan, E, Crampton, J, Dunbar, G, Dunbar, N, Florindo, F, Gebhardt, C, Graham, I, Hannah, M, Hansaraj, D, Harwood, D, Helling, D, Henrys, S, Hinnov, L, Kuhn, G, Kyle, P, Läufer, A, Maffioli, P, Magens, D, Mandernack, K, McIntosh, W, Millan, C, Morin, R, Ohneiser, C, Paulsen, T, Persico, D, Raine, I, Reed, J, Riesselman, C, Sagnotti, L, Schmitt, D, Sjunneskog, C, Strong, P, Taviani, M, Vogel, S, Wilch, T & Williams, T 2009, 'Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations', Nature, vol. 458, no. 7236, pp. 322-328. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07867

Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations. / Naish, T.; Powell, R.; Levy, R.; Wilson, G.; Scherer, R.; Talarico, F.; Krissek, L.; Niessen, F.; Pompilio, M.; Wilson, T.; Carter, L.; DeConto, R.; Huybers, P.; McKay, R.; Pollard, D.; Ross, J.; Winter, D.; Barrett, P.; Browne, G.; Cody, R.; Cowan, E.; Crampton, J.; Dunbar, G.; Dunbar, N.; Florindo, F.; Gebhardt, C.; Graham, I.; Hannah, M.; Hansaraj, D.; Harwood, D.; Helling, D.; Henrys, S.; Hinnov, L.; Kuhn, G.; Kyle, P.; Läufer, A.; Maffioli, P.; Magens, D.; Mandernack, K.; McIntosh, W.; Millan, C.; Morin, R.; Ohneiser, C.; Paulsen, T.; Persico, D.; Raine, I.; Reed, J.; Riesselman, C.; Sagnotti, L.; Schmitt, D.; Sjunneskog, C.; Strong, P.; Taviani, M.; Vogel, S.; Wilch, T.; Williams, T.

In: Nature, Vol. 458, No. 7236, 19.03.2009, p. 322-328.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations

AU - Naish, T.

AU - Powell, R.

AU - Levy, R.

AU - Wilson, G.

AU - Scherer, R.

AU - Talarico, F.

AU - Krissek, L.

AU - Niessen, F.

AU - Pompilio, M.

AU - Wilson, T.

AU - Carter, L.

AU - DeConto, R.

AU - Huybers, P.

AU - McKay, R.

AU - Pollard, D.

AU - Ross, J.

AU - Winter, D.

AU - Barrett, P.

AU - Browne, G.

AU - Cody, R.

AU - Cowan, E.

AU - Crampton, J.

AU - Dunbar, G.

AU - Dunbar, N.

AU - Florindo, F.

AU - Gebhardt, C.

AU - Graham, I.

AU - Hannah, M.

AU - Hansaraj, D.

AU - Harwood, D.

AU - Helling, D.

AU - Henrys, S.

AU - Hinnov, L.

AU - Kuhn, G.

AU - Kyle, P.

AU - Läufer, A.

AU - Maffioli, P.

AU - Magens, D.

AU - Mandernack, K.

AU - McIntosh, W.

AU - Millan, C.

AU - Morin, R.

AU - Ohneiser, C.

AU - Paulsen, T.

AU - Persico, D.

AU - Raine, I.

AU - Reed, J.

AU - Riesselman, C.

AU - Sagnotti, L.

AU - Schmitt, D.

AU - Sjunneskog, C.

AU - Strong, P.

AU - Taviani, M.

AU - Vogel, S.

AU - Wilch, T.

AU - Williams, T.

PY - 2009/3/19

Y1 - 2009/3/19

N2 - Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch (∼5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, ∼40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to ∼3°C warmer than today and atmospheric CO 2 concentration was as high as ∼400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO2.

AB - Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch (∼5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, ∼40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to ∼3°C warmer than today and atmospheric CO 2 concentration was as high as ∼400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO2.

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Naish T, Powell R, Levy R, Wilson G, Scherer R, Talarico F et al. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations. Nature. 2009 Mar 19;458(7236):322-328. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07867