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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Antony Long

Long, A.J., Roberts, D.H. & Dawson, S. (2006). Early Holocene history of the west Greenland Ice Sheet and the GH-8.2 event. Quaternary Science Reviews 25(9/10): 904-922.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet retreated rapidly during
the first few thousand years of the Holocene. During this period of
relative warmth, known as the Holocene thermal maximum, ice core records
identify a significant short-lived cooling event at approximately
8.4–8.0 ka cal. yr BP (the ‘GH-8.2 event’) associated with a 5–7
°C fall in mean annual air temperature over the centre of the ice sheet.
In this paper we constrain the history of the ice sheet margin in Disko
Bugt (west Greenland) and that of a major ice stream, Jakobshavns Isbrae,
during the early Holocene, which incorporates the interval of the GH-8.2
event. Our work is based on a new relative sea-level curve and minimum age
estimates for the timing of deglaciation from two field sites, combined
with a review of previously published research from the study area. We
identify important differences in the chronology of ice margin recession
during the early Holocene, most noticeably, the margin of Jakobshavns
Isbrae retreated well inland of the adjacent ice sheet at this time. We
conclude that the early Holocene ‘Fjord Stade’ moraines in Disko Bugt
do not record a uniform ice sheet margin response to the GH-8.2 event.
Rather, these moraines are diachronous and formed between c. 10–8 ka
cal. yr BP, their age varying as a function of the interplay between
topography and ice sheet/ice stream dynamics. We hypothesise that one
cause for the lack of an identifiable response to the GH-8.2 event is
because topographic controls dominated ice sheet behaviour at this time.
In lowland areas, any increase in ice sheet mass balance was probably
associated with an increase in calving rather than any major advance of a
grounded ice sheet margin.

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