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Sensitivity of the Greenland Ice Sheet to interglacial climate forcing: MIS 5e Versus MIS 11

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Rima Rachmayani
  • Matthias Prange
  • Dan J Lunt
  • Emma Stone
  • Michael Schulz
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPALO20447
Pages (from-to)1089-1101
Number of pages13
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number11
Early online date3 Nov 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Sep 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 3 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - Nov 2017


The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is thought to have contributed substantially to high global sea levels during the interglacials of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e and 11. Geological evidence suggests that the mass loss of the GrIS was greater during the peak interglacial of MIS 11 than MIS 5e, despite a weaker boreal summer insolation. We address this conundrum by using the three dimensional thermomechanical ice sheet model Glimmer forced by Community Climate System Model version 3 output for MIS 5e and MIS 11 interglacial time slices. Our results suggest a stronger sensitivity of the GrIS to MIS 11 climate forcing than to MIS 5e forcing. Besides stronger greenhouse gas radiative forcing, the greater MIS 11 GrIS mass loss relative to MIS 5e is attributed to a larger oceanic heat transport toward high latitudes by a stronger Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The vigorous MIS 11 ocean overturning, in turn, is related to a stronger wind-driven salt transport from low to high latitudes promoting North Atlantic Deep Water formation. The orbital insolation forcing, which causes the ocean current anomalies, is discussed.

    Research areas

  • Greenland, ice sheet, Marine Isotope Stage, climate modeling, interglacial, insolation

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