Greenland-wide seasonal temperatures during the last deglaciation

C. Buizert, B.A. Keisling, J.E. Box, F. He, A.E. Carlson, G. Sinclair, R.M. DeConto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


The sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to climate forcing is of key importance in assessing its contribution to past and future sea level rise. Surface mass loss occurs during summer, and accounting for temperature seasonality is critical in simulating ice sheet evolution and in interpreting glacial landforms and chronologies. Ice core records constrain the timing and magnitude of climate change but are largely limited to annual mean estimates from the ice sheet interior. Here we merge ice core reconstructions with transient climate model simulations to generate Greenland-wide and seasonally resolved surface air temperature fields during the last deglaciation. Greenland summer temperatures peak in the early Holocene, consistent with records of ice core melt layers. We perform deglacial Greenland ice sheet model simulations to demonstrate that accounting for realistic temperature seasonality decreases simulated glacial ice volume, expedites the deglacial margin retreat, mutes the impact of abrupt climate warming, and gives rise to a clear Holocene ice volume minimum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1914
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018


  • Greenland ice sheet
  • Holocene thermal maximum
  • ice core
  • last deglaciation
  • mass balance

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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