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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Holocene deceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet

  • Author(s): MacGregor, JA
  • Colgan, WT
  • Fahnestock, MA
  • Morlighem, M
  • Catania, GA
  • Paden, JD
  • Gogineni, SP
  • et al.

Recent peripheral thinning of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly offset by interior thickening and is overprinted on its poorly constrained Holocene evolution. On the basis of the ice sheet's radiostratigraphy, ice flow in its interior is slower now than the average speed over the past nine millennia. Generally higher Holocene accumulation rates relative to modern estimates can only partially explain this millennial-scale deceleration. The ice sheet's dynamic response to the decreasing proportion of softer ice from the last glacial period and the deglacial collapse of the ice bridge across Nares Strait also contributed to this pattern. Thus, recent interior thickening of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly an ongoing dynamic response to the last deglaciation that is large enough to affect interpretation of its mass balance from altimetry.

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