Persistent 400,000-year variability of antarctic ice volume and the carbon cycle is revealed throughout the plio-pleistocene

B. De Boer*, Lucas J. Lourens, Roderik S.W. Van De Wal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Marine sediment records from the Oligocene and Miocene reveal clear 400,000-year climate cycles related to variations in orbital eccentricity. These cycles are also observed in the Plio-Pleistocene records of the global carbon cycle. However, they are absent from the Late Pleistocene ice-age record over the past 1.5 million years. Here we present a simulation of global ice volume over the past 5 million years with a coupled system of four three-dimensional ice-sheet models. Our simulation shows that the 400,000-year long eccentricity cycles of Antarctica vary coherently with δ 13 C data during the Pleistocene, suggesting that they drove the long-term carbon cycle changes throughout the past 35 million years. The 400,000-year response of Antarctica was eventually suppressed by the dominant 100,000-year glacial cycles of the large ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2999
JournalNature Communications
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014

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