Milankovitch tuning of deep-sea records: Implications for maximum rates of change of sea level

TitleMilankovitch tuning of deep-sea records: Implications for maximum rates of change of sea level
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBerger WH
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Date Published2013/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0921-8181
Accession NumberWOS:000316423600012
Keywordsabrupt climate-change; antarctic ice-sheet; brunhes-matuyama; coral reefs; fresh-water input; ice age; major glaciation cycles; north-atlantic ocean; ontong java plateau; raised; thermohaline circulation; younger dryas event

The analysis of several stacked and tuned records from the deep-sea floor yields two rather different sets of values for rates of sea-level rise. One of these reflects "regular" growth and decay and the other represents rapid decay of polar ice. Typical rise rates during rapid decay are near 1.2 m per century; with higher values seemingly following an abundance distribution that may be described by a standard deviation of 0.4 m per century (one third of the typical value). Distributions are based on a millennium resolution, leaving room for higher values for selected centuries within any millennium. Nevertheless, rise values beyond 5 m per century seem highly unusual. The quality of the match between deep-sea record (taken as differential) and Milankovitch forcing is excellent for the last 400,000 years (that is, the time since the "mid-Brunhes Event," a period that may be referred to as the "Emiliani Chron") but is poor in certain time spans before that. Difficulties associated with precise dating and a changing level of instability of polar ice prevent identification of trigger events for deglaciation. What is observable is that during periods of rapid decay, once sea level started to rise, it kept doing so for millennia (presumably till suitable ice masses were used up). Thus, it seems that a rise of sea level is itself a positive feedback on rapid melting of ice. Negative feedback, if real (as assumed in certain hypotheses about the origin of the Younger Dryas) is an unexpected exception that presumably relies on a high threshold value of sea-level rise. (c) 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Short TitleGlob. Planet. Change
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