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Late-Glacial Maximum-Holocene Atmospheric and Ice-Thickness Changes from Antarctic Ice-Core Studies

  • C. Lorius (a1), D. Raynaud (a1), J.-R. Petit (a1), J. Jouzel (a2) and L. Merlivat (a2)...

Abstract

A review of Byrd, Vostok and Dome C Antarctic ice-core records indicates significant changes in atmospheric characteristics between the late glacial maximum (LGM) and the Holocene. This data is relevant to general circulation model (GCM) boundary conditions and validation of output results. Reciprocally, GCM data could help to interpret ice-core results and to extend observed high-latitude changes to a larger scale.

During the LGM, low troposphere temperatures were colder by about 5 to 7°C and surface temperatures by 8 to 10°C over the Antarctic ice sheet. There are indications that snow accumulation was slightly lower and isotopic data suggests higher relative humidity over the ocean. A large increase in continental dust (up to a factor of 20) and marine aerosols (up to a factor of 5) is observed on the high Antarctic plateau, both explained by the increased (possibly up to 1.4 to 2 times) intensity of the large-scale atmospheric circulation modulated by desert and sea-ice area extension. Ice-core results show large changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations with LGM values around 200 ppmv and “pre-industrial” values of about 260 ppmv. Finally, determinations of total gas content suggest that central West and East Antarctica were not thicker during the LGM, in contrast with higher surface elevations inferred from coastal-ice studies.

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References

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