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Influence of West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse on Antarctic surface climate and ice core records

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  • UserEric Steig, Leverhulme Visiting Professor, University of Edinburgh. Professor, Departments of Atmospheric Sciences and Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington
  • ClockThursday 30 April 2015, 12:15-13:15
  • HouseBritish Antarctic Survey, Room 330B.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Pranab Deb.

If external to BAS, please email the organiser in advance to gain access to the building

Climate-model simulations are used to examine the impact of a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) on the surface climate of Antarctica. The lowered topography following WAIS collapse produces anomalous cyclonic circulation with increased flow of warm, maritime air towards the South Pole, and cold-air advection from the East Antarctic plateau towards the Ross Sea and Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica. Relative to the background climate, some areas in the East Antarctic interior warm moderately, while substantial cooling (several degrees C) occurs over parts of West Antarctica. Anomalously low isotope-paleotemperature values at Mt. Moulton, West Antarctica, compared with ice core records in East Antarctica, are consistent with collapse of the WAIS during the last interglacial period, Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e. More definitive evidence might be recoverable from an ice core record at Hercules Dome, East Antarctica, which would experience significant warming and positive oxygen-isotope anomalies if the WAIS collapsed.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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