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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Mike Bentley

Bentley, M.J. The Antarctic palaeo record and its role in improving predictions of future Antarctic Ice Sheet change. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2010;25:5-18.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This paper reviews the ways in which the palaeo record of Antarctic Ice Sheet change can be used to improve understanding of contemporary ice sheet behaviour, and thus enhance predictions of future sea-level change. The main areas where the palaeo ice sheet record can contribute are understanding long-term ice sheet trajectory; providing data against which ice sheet models can be tested; to identify and understand the range and types of natural ice sheet behaviour; to balance the global water budget; to correct contemporary glaciological measurements of mass change; and to understand the relationship between polar ecosystems and the ice sheet. I review each in turn and argue that research priorities include understanding past West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse and its timing; a focus on the palaeo record of rapid retreat events and how these unfolded in the geological past; improving the number and range of ice sheet reconstructions, particularly through the Holocene; continuing to investigate the potential for using sediments and landforms to parameterise basal conditions in ice sheet models; and understanding past East Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics, particularly the evidence for partial deglaciation.