Ice Sheets

A responsive past

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Science  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6402, pp. 565
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6402.565-a

A melt river on Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland

CREDIT: DAVE WALSH/VWPICS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

One of the ways that we might develop more accurate projections of the Greenland Ice Sheet's response to global warming is to investigate analogous periods in the past and use them to establish constraints for its future behavior. Reusche et al. investigated the history of two large outlet glaciers in the northwestern sector of the ice sheet across the Holocene by measuring surface-exposure ages of associated moraines. Their data shed light on the competing effects of generally warming surface air temperatures and discrete climate cooling events. These results help show how quickly the ice sheet can respond to both positive and negative centennial atmospheric temperature fluctuations.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1029/2018GL078266 (2018).

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