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Climatic implications of reconstructed early - Mid Pliocene equilibrium-line altitudes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Annals of Glaciology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.3189/172756409787769564

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Abstract

Early-mid Pliocene moraines in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are more extensive than the present alpine glaciers in this region, indicating substantial climatic differences between the early-mid Pliocene and the present. To quantify this difference in the glacier-climate regime, we estimated the equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) change since the early-mid Pliocene by calculating the modern ELA and reconstructing the ELAs of four alpine glaciers in Wright and Taylor Valleys at their early-mid Pliocene maxima. The area-altitude balance ratio method was used on modern and reconstructed early-mid Pliocene hypsometry. In Wright and Victoria Valleys, mass-balance data identify present-day ELAs of 800-1600 m a.s.l. and an average balance ratio of 1.1. The estimated ELAs of the much larger early-mid Pliocene glaciers in Wright and Taylor Valleys range from 600 to 950 ?? 170 m a.s.l., and thus are 250-600 ??170 m lower than modern ELAs in these valleys. The depressed ELAs during the early-mid-Pliocene most likely indicate a wetter and therefore warmer climate in the Dry Valleys during this period than previous studies have recognized.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Climatic implications of reconstructed early - Mid Pliocene equilibrium-line altitudes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica
Series title:
Annals of Glaciology
DOI:
10.3189/172756409787769564
Volume
50
Issue:
50
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Annals of Glaciology
First page:
31
Last page:
36