Research Article

Plio-Pleistocene Ice Volume, Antarctic Climate, and the Global δ18O Record

Science  28 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5786, pp. 492-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123296

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Abstract

We propose that from ∼3 to 1 million years ago, ice volume changes occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, each controlled by local summer insolation. Because Earth's orbital precession is out of phase between hemispheres, 23,000-year changes in ice volume in each hemisphere cancel out in globally integrated proxies such as ocean δ18O or sea level, leaving the in-phase obliquity (41,000 years) component of insolation to dominate those records. Only a modest ice mass change in Antarctica is required to effectively cancel out a much larger northern ice volume signal. At the mid-Pleistocene transition, we propose that marine-based ice sheet margins replaced terrestrial ice margins around the perimeter of East Antarctica, resulting in a shift to in-phase behavior of northern and southern ice sheets as well as the strengthening of 23,000-year cyclicity in the marine δ18O record.

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