Skip to Main Content

Local glaciation in West Greenland linked to North Atlantic Ocean circulation during the Holocene

Avriel D. Schweinsberg, Jason P. Briner, Gifford H. Miller, Ole Bennike and Elizabeth K. Thomas
Local glaciation in West Greenland linked to North Atlantic Ocean circulation during the Holocene
Geology (Boulder) (January 2017) 45 (3): 195-198


Recent observations indicate that ice-ocean interaction drives much of the recent increase in mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet; however, the role of ocean forcing in driving past glacier change is poorly understood. To extend the observational record and our understanding of the ocean-cryosphere link, we used a multi-proxy approach that combines new data from proglacial lake sediments, (super 14) C-dated in situ moss that recently emerged from beneath cold-based ice caps, and (super 10) Be ages to reconstruct centennial-scale records of mountain glacier activity for the past approximately 10 k.y. in West Greenland. Proglacial lake sediment records and (super 14) C dating of moss indicate the onset of Neoglaciation in West Greenland at ca. 5 ka with substantial snowline lowering and glacier expansion at ca. 3.7 ka followed by additional ice expansion phases at ca. 2.9, ca. 1.7, and ca. 1.4 ka and during the Little Ice Age. We find that widespread glacier growth at ca. 3.7 ka in West Greenland coincides with marked cooling and reduced strength of the West Greenland Current in Disko Bugt. The transition to cooler ocean conditions at ca. 3.7 ka identified in Disko Bugt is registered by marine proxy data farther afield in East Greenland and on the northwestern Icelandic shelf, implying large-scale paleoceanographic changes across the North Atlantic during this interval. The similarity between glacier change on West Greenland and multiple marine and terrestrial records across the North Atlantic suggests that glaciers are strongly influenced by changes in ocean circulation and consequently implies that the ocean-cryosphere teleconnection is a persistent feature of the Arctic system.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 45
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Local glaciation in West Greenland linked to North Atlantic Ocean circulation during the Holocene
Affiliation: University at Buffalo, Department of Geology, Buffalo, NY, United States
Pages: 195-198
Published: 20170109
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 32
Accession Number: 2017-012075
Categories: Quaternary geologyGeochronology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2017051
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch map
N70°00'00" - N70°30'00", W52°00'00" - W51°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Colorado at Boulder, USA, United StatesGeological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, DNK, Denmark
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201709
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal