The Transient Response of Ice Volume to Orbital Forcing During the Warm Late Pliocene

Bas de Boer*, Alan M. Haywood, Aisling M. Dolan, Stephen J. Hunter, Caroline L. Prescott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Examining the nature of ice sheet and sea level response to past episodes of enhanced greenhouse gas forcing may help constrain future sea level change. Here, for the first time, we present the transient nature of ice sheets and sea level during the late Pliocene. The transient ice sheet predictions are forced by multiple climate snapshots derived from a climate model set up with late Pliocene boundary conditions, forced with different orbital forcing scenarios appropriate to two Marine Isotope Stages (MISs), MIS KM5c, and K1. Our results indicate that during MIS KM5c both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contributed to sea level rise relative to present and were relatively stable. Insolation forcing between the hemispheres was out of phase during MIS K1 and led to an asynchronous response of ice volume globally. Therefore, when variations of precession were high, inferring the behavior of ice sheets from benthic isotope or sea level records is complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10,486-10,494
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2017


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement 660814. B. de Boer is currently funded by NWO Earth and Life Sciences (ALW), project 863.15.019. A. M. Haywood, A.M. Dolan, S. J. Hunter, and C. L. Prescott acknowledge funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement 278636, as well as the EPSRC-supported Past Earth Network. All ice sheet model simulations were undertaken on ARC2, part of the High Performance Computing facilities at the University of Leeds, UK. Model data are available upon request. Ice sheet model output is available on the author’s website and on the data repository Pangaea.

FundersFunder number
EPSRC-supported Past Earth Network
European Research Council
European Union’s Horizon 2020660814
NWO Earth and Life Sciences
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research CouncilEP/M008363/1
European Research Council278636
Seventh Framework Programme


    • Antarctica
    • Greenland
    • ice volume
    • modeling
    • orbital forcing
    • Pliocene


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