Warmth of the Subpolar North Atlantic Ocean During Northern Hemisphere Ice-Sheet Growth

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Science  13 Apr 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4389, pp. 173-175
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4389.173


Two 10,000-year periods of Northern Hemisphere continental ice-sheet growth stand out prominently within the last full interglacial-to-glacial cycle. During the first half of each rapid ice-growth phase, the subpolar North Atlantic from 40°N to 60°N maintained warm sea-surface temperatures comparable to those of today's ocean. The juxtaposition at latitudes 50°N to 60°N of an "interglacial" ocean along-side a "glacial" land mass, particularly along eastern North America, is regarded as an optimal configuration for delivering moisture to the growing ice sheets.