Abstract

A variety of marine evidence indicates that much of the deglacial activity that ended the Illinoian glaciation occurred under cold climate conditions prior to the glacial termination 2 warming at 127 ka in the δ18O deep-sea core record. This anomalous deglaciation is explained by a reduction of water-vapor input to the ice sheets caused by weaker summer atmospheric circulation due to a known smaller latitudinal insolation gradient associated with Earth's orbital variations. A major factor in the eventual marine and atmospheric warming of termination 2 was the formation of unusually warm deep water in the eastern North Atlantic and its circulation to Antarctica, with the probable consequence that the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet melted, resulting in a eustatic sea level 6 m higher than present.

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