Northern Hemisphere Ice-Sheet Influences on Global Climate Change

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Science  05 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5442, pp. 1104-1111
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5442.1104

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Large ice sheets actively interact with the rest of the climate system by amplifying, pacing, and potentially driving global climate change over several time scales. Direct and indirect influences of ice sheets on climate cause changes in ocean surface temperatures, ocean circulation, continental water balance, vegetation, and land-surface albedo, which in turn cause additional feedbacks in the climate system and help to synchronize global climate change. The effect of the underlying geological substrate on ice-sheet dynamics may be the missing link in understanding the ice sheet–climate interactions that are integral to the middle Pleistocene transition; the 100,000-year climate cycle; high-amplitude, millennial-scale climate variability; and low–aspect ratio ice sheets of the Last Glacial Maximum.

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