Rapid retreat of the Irish Sea Ice Stream – just out in the Journal of Quaternary Science

Irish Sea Ice Stream

A new paper has just been published by Richard Chiverrell and a hefty team of Britice-Chrono co-workers (James Scourse, Katrien van Landeghem, Chris Clark, Colm O Cofaigh, Dave Evans, Danny Mccarroll, Colin Ballantyne) presenting the first Bayesian integration and modelling of all the dating control for the marine sectors of the largest ice stream that the last British-Irish Ice Sheet ~ 24,000 years ago. The modelling shows very rapid retreat for this marine-terminating ice stream over greater distances (650 km) and timescales (8000 years) than is available from short term (decadal) observations of present day ice stream margins. The modelling shows this retreat 24,000 years ago was rapid and linked with climatic warming, sea-level rise, mega-tidal amplitudes and reactivation of meridional circulation in the North Atlantic. But, significantly the pattern of retreat appears uneven with a pulsed pattern of retreat attributed to the passage of the ice stream between normal (sloping away from the ice margin) and adverse (sloping towards) ice bed gradients and changes in the geometry or marginal constriction of the ice stream. To read more click here.

The methodology and application kind of formed an important test case for Britice-Chrono as we attempt to constrain rates of and controls on marine ice stream retreat over millennial timescales for eight ice stream radiating out from the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. The methodology outlined in the paper will underpin and be used as a guide for our data collection for the wider British-Irish Ice Sheet. It would be quite good fun to play around with some of the available chronology for other ice streams…..

For news and updates on Britice-Chrono see our Twitter site and everyone please get tweeting or twittering!.

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