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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-66
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-66
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 May 2020

Submitted as: research article | 06 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Glacial history of Inglefield Land, north Greenland from combined in-situ 10Be and 14C exposure dating

Anne Sofie Søndergaard1, Nicolaj Krog Larsen1,2, Olivia Steinemann3, Jesper Olsen4, Svend Funder2, David Lundbek Egholm1, and Kurt Henrik Kjær2 Anne Sofie Søndergaard et al.
  • 1Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Høegh Guldbergs Gade 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
  • 2Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
  • 3Department of Physics, Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics, ETH Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 4Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 120, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Abstract. Exposing the sensitivity of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) to Holocene climate changes is a key prerequisite for understanding the future response of the ice sheet to global warming. In this study, we present new information on the Holocene glacial history of the GrIS in Inglefield Land, north Greenland. We use 10Be and in-situ 14C exposure dating to constrain the timing of deglaciation in the area and radiocarbon dating of reworked molluscs and wood fragments to constrain when the ice sheet retreated behind its present-day extent. The 10Be ages are scattered ranging from c. 92.7 to 6.8 ka whereas the in-situ 14C ages range from c. 14.2 to 6.7 ka. Almost half of the apparent 10Be ages predate the Last Glacial Maximum and up to 89 % are to some degree affected by nuclide inheritance. Based on the few reliable 10Be ages, the in-situ 14C ages and existing radiocarbon ages from Inglefield Land, we find that the deglaciation along the coast commenced c. 8.6–8.3 cal. ka BP in the western part and c. 7.9 ka in the central part, following the opening of Nares Strait and arrival of warm waters. The ice margin reached its present-day position c. 8.2 ka at the Humboldt Glacier and c. 6.7 ka in the central part of Inglefield Land. Radiocarbon ages of reworked molluscs and wood fragments show that the ice margin was behind its present-day extent from c. 5.8 to 0.5 cal. ka BP. After 0.5 cal. ka BP, the ice advanced towards its Little Ice Age position. Our results emphasize that the slowly eroding and possibly cold-based ice in north Greenland makes it difficult to constrain the deglaciation history based on 10Be ages alone unless it is paired with in-situ 14C ages. Further, combining our findings with those of recently published studies reveals distinct differences between deglaciation patterns of northwest and north Greenland. Deglaciation of the land areas in northwest Greenland occurred earlier than in north Greenland and periods of restricted ice extent were longer, spanning middle and late Holocene. Overall, this highlights past ice sheet sensitivity towards Holocene climate changes in an area where little information was available just a few years ago.

Anne Sofie Søndergaard et al.

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Anne Sofie Søndergaard et al.

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Latest update: 02 Jun 2020
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Short summary
We present new results that show how the north Greenland Ice Sheet responded to climate changes over the last 117 000 years. We find that the ice sheet was very sensitive to past climate changes. Combining our findings with recently published studies reveals distinct differences in sensitivity to past climate changes between northwest and north Greenland. This highlights the sensitivity to past and possible future climate changes of two of the most vulnerable areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
We present new results that show how the north Greenland Ice Sheet responded to climate changes...
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