Ice shelves -- Antarctica, Ice shelves -- Effect of climatic change, Glaciers -- Antarctica -- Antarctic Peninsula
Heinrich layers of the glacial North Atlantic record abrupt widespread iceberg rafting of detrital carbonate and other lithic material at the extreme-cold culminations of Bond climate cycles. Both internal (glaciologic) and external (climate) forcings have been proposed. Here we suggest an explanation for the iceberg release that encompasses external climate forcing on the basis of a new glaciological process recently witnessed along the Antarctic Peninsula: rapid disintegrations of fringing ice shelves induced by climate-controlled meltwater infilling of surface crevasses. We postulate that peripheral ice shelves, formed along the eastern Canadian seaboard during extreme cold conditions, would be vulnerable to sudden climate-driven disintegration during any climate amelioration. Ice shelf disintegration then would be the source of Heinrich event icebergs.
Hulbe, C. L., D. R. MacAyeal, G. H. Denton, J. Kleman, and T. V. Lowell (2004), Catastrophic ice shelf breakup as the source of Heinrich event icebergs, Paleoceanography, 19, PA1004, doi:10.1029/2003PA000890.