Climatic warming following the Last Glacial Maximum caused the southern Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) to begin ∼2,000-year cycles of retreat and readvance whose cause remains ambiguous. By developing a marine-calibrated chronology of southern LIS position, we counterintuitively demonstrate that between 17.6 and 11.3 ka, ice advanced during times of northern-hemisphere warming and retreated during times of northern-hemisphere cooling. Here we propose a cyclical feedback: Meltwater from ice retreat cooled the northern hemisphere by weakening the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This eventually lead to ice-sheet readvance, which reduced and rerouted meltwater discharge, and thereby allowed the AMOC to strengthen and the northern hemisphere to warm. Our data suggest that this antiphased ice–climate interaction, paced by ice-sheet response time, was initiated by synchronous warming and ice retreat ∼18.7–17.6 ka (corresponding to the Erie “Interstade”) and reached its apex during the Younger Dryas.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
ADW was supported by the US Department of Defense through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program, by the US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant DGE 1144083, by the McKnight Foundation through a McKnight Land‐Grant Professorship awarded through the University of Minnesota, and by a Humboldt‐Forschungsstipendium from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Conversations with Andy Breckenridge helped to inform and shape this manuscript.
© 2023. The Authors.
- North America
- ice sheet
- ocean circulation