Arctic Ocean glacial history

Martin Jakobsson, Karin Andreassen, Lilja Rún Bjarnadóttir, Dayton Dove, Julian A. Dowdeswell, John H. England, Svend Funder, Kelly Hogan, Ólafur Ingólfsson, Anne Jennings, Nikolaj Krog-Larsen, Nina Kirchner, Jon Y. Landvik, Larry Mayer, Naja Mikkelsen, Per Möller, Frank Niessen, Johan Nilsson, Matt O'Regan, Leonid PolyakNiels Nørgaard-Pedersen, Ruediger Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


While there are numerous hypotheses concerning glacial-interglacial environmental and climatic regime shifts in the Arctic Ocean, a holistic view on the Northern Hemisphere's late Quaternary ice-sheet extent and their impact on ocean and sea-ice dynamics remains to be established. Here we aim to provide a step in this direction by presenting an overview of Arctic Ocean glacial history, based on the present state-of-the-art knowledge gained from field work and chronological studies, and with a specific focus on ice-sheet extent and environmental conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The maximum Quaternary extension of ice sheets is discussed and compared to LGM. We bring together recent results from the circum-Arctic continental margins and the deep central basin; extent of ice sheets and ice streams bordering the Arctic Ocean as well as evidence for ice shelves extending into the central deep basin. Discrepancies between new results and published LGM ice-sheet reconstructions in the high Arctic are highlighted and outstanding questions are identified. Finally, we address the ability to simulate the Arctic Ocean ice sheet complexes and their dynamics, including ice streams and ice shelves, using presently available ice-sheet models. Our review shows that while we are able to firmly reject some of the earlier hypotheses formulated to describe Arctic Ocean glacial conditions, we still lack information from key areas to compile the holistic Arctic Ocean glacial history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-67
Number of pages28
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2014


  • Arctic Ocean
  • Glacial history
  • Ice sheet modelling
  • Ice sheets
  • Ice shelves
  • Ice streams
  • Landforms
  • Last Glacial Maximum
  • Paleoceanography
  • Quaternary

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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