Simulated last deglaciation of the Barents Sea Ice Sheet primarily driven by oceanic conditions

Michele Petrini, Florence Colleoni, Nina Kirchner, Anna L.C. Hughes, Angelo Camerlenghi, Michele Rebesco, Renata G. Lucchi, Emanuele Forte, Renato R. Colucci, Riko Noormets, Jan Mangerud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Downloads (Pure)


The Barents Sea Ice Sheet was part of an interconnected complex of ice sheets, collectively referred to as the Eurasian Ice Sheet, which covered north-westernmost Europe, Russia and the Barents Sea during the Last Glacial Maximum (around 21 ky BP). Due to common geological features, the Barents Sea component of this ice complex is seen as a paleo-analogue for the present-day West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Investigating key processes driving the last deglaciation of the Barents Sea Ice Sheet represents an important tool to interpret recent observations in Antarctica over the multi-millennial temporal scale of glaciological changes. We present results from a perturbed physics ensemble of ice sheet model simulations of the last deglaciation of the Barents Sea Ice Sheet, forced with transient atmospheric and oceanic conditions derived from AOGCM simulations. The ensemble of transient simulations is evaluated against the data-based DATED-1 reconstruction to construct minimum, maximum and average deglaciation scenarios. Despite a large model/data mismatch at the western and eastern ice sheet margins, the simulated and DATED-1 deglaciation scenarios agree well on the timing of the deglaciation of the central and northern Barents Sea. We find that the simulated deglaciation of the Barents Sea Ice Sheet is primarily driven by the oceanic forcing, with prescribed eustatic sea level rise amplifying the ice sheet sensitivity to sub-shelf melting over relatively short intervals. Our results highlight that the sub-shelf melting has a very strong control on the simulated grounding-line flux, showing that a slow, gradual ocean warming trend is capable of triggering sustained grounded ice discharge over multi-millennial timescales, even without taking into account marine ice sheet or ice cliff instability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106314
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Simulated last deglaciation of the Barents Sea Ice Sheet primarily driven by oceanic conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this