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Journal Article

MIS-11 duration key to disappearance of the Greenland ice sheet


Robinson,  Alexander
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Alvarez-Solas,  J.
External Organizations;


Calov,  Reinhard
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Ganopolski,  Andrey
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Montoya,  M.
External Organizations;

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Robinson, A., Alvarez-Solas, J., Calov, R., Ganopolski, A., Montoya, M. (2017): MIS-11 duration key to disappearance of the Greenland ice sheet. - Nature Communications, 8, 16008.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_21684
Palaeo data suggest that Greenland must have been largely ice free during Marine Isotope Stage 11 (MIS-11). However, regional summer insolation anomalies were modest during this time compared to MIS-5e, when the Greenland ice sheet likely lost less volume. Thus it remains unclear how such conditions led to an almost complete disappearance of the ice sheet. Here we use transient climate–ice sheet simulations to simultaneously constrain estimates of regional temperature anomalies and Greenland’s contribution to the MIS-11 sea-level highstand. We find that Greenland contributed 6.1 m (3.9–7.0 m, 95% credible interval) to sea level, ∼7 kyr after the peak in regional summer temperature anomalies of 2.8 °C (2.1–3.4 °C). The moderate warming produced a mean rate of mass loss in sea-level equivalent of only around 0.4 m per kyr, which means the long duration of MIS-11 interglacial conditions around Greenland was a necessary condition for the ice sheet to disappear almost completely.