Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Eemian Interglacial Reconstruction from a folded Greenland Ice Core

Up to the present it has not been possible to drill an ice core in Greenland that covers the entire period of the Eemian Interglacial, 130,000-115,000 BP, making it difficult to determine the response to the climate of the Eemian that is known to have been warmer than the present climate. The results obtained by the authors1 from the ice core produced by the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project (NEEM) indicate there was only a moderate response by the ice sheet of Greenland to the strong warming that occurred in the Eemian. The authors1 used globally homogenous parameters that had been obtained from Greenland and Antarctic ice cores, that had been dated, to reconstruct a record for the Eemian. Following the onset of the Eemian at 126,000 BP, NEEM surface temperatures peaked at 8 ± 4oC above the mean of the last 1,000 years, after which a gradual cooling occurred that they1 suggest probably resulted from decreasing insolation in summer. The thickness of the northwest  Greenland ice sheet decreased by about 400 ± 250 m between 128,000 and 122,000 BP, by 122,000 BP reaching its lowest elevation of 130 ± 300 m lower than at the present. During the Eemian extensive surface melt occurred at the NEEM site, and the phenomenon was witnessed with the formation of melt layers at NEEM when temperatures reached exceptional highs in July 2012. The authors1 suggest that surface melt might become more common in the future.


Sources & Further reading

  1. "Eemian Interglacial Reconstructed from a Greenland Folded Ice Core." Nature 493, no. 7433 (01/24/print 2013): 489-94.
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 11/02/2013

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