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Recent advances in understanding Antarctic climate evolution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2008

Martin J. Siegert*
School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Grant Institute, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, UK
Peter Barrett
Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand
Robert DeConto
Department of Geosciences, 611 North Pleasant Street, 233 Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9297, USA
Robert Dunbar
Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, 325 Braun Hall (bldg. 320), Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2115, USA
Colm Ó Cofaigh
Department of Geography, Durham University, Science Site, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
Sandra Passchier
Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Mallory Hall 252, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA
Tim Naish
Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, PO Box 30368, Lower Hutt, New Zealand


Geological evidence shows that the ice sheet and climate in Antarctica has changed considerably since the onset of glaciation around 34 million years ago. By analysing this evidence, important information concerning processes responsible for ice sheet growth and decay can be determined, which is vital for appreciating future changes in Antarctica. Geological records are diverse and their analyses require a variety of techniques. They are, however, essential for the establishment of hypotheses regarding past Antarctic changes. Numerical models of ice and climate are useful for testing such hypotheses, and in recent years there have been several advances in our knowledge relating to ice sheet history gained from these tests. This paper documents five case studies, employing a full range of techniques, to exemplify recent insights into Antarctic climate evolution from modelling ice sheet inception in the earliest Oligocene to quantifying Neogene ice sheet fluctuations and process-led investigations of recent (last glacial) changes.

Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2008

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