Current global warming necessitates a detailed understanding of the relationships between climate and global ice volume. Highly resolved and continuous sea-level records are essential for quantifying ice-volume changes. However, an unbiased study of the timing of past ice-volume changes, relative to polar climate change, has so far been impossible because available sea-level records either were dated by using orbital tuning or ice-core timescales, or were discontinuous in time. Here we present an independent dating of a continuous, high-resolution sea-level record1,2 in millennial-scale detail throughout the past 150,000 years. We find that the timing of ice-volume fluctuations agrees well with that of variations in Antarctic climate and especially Greenland climate. Amplitudes of ice-volume fluctuations more closely match Antarctic (rather than Greenland) climate changes. Polar climate and ice-volume changes, and their rates of change, are found to covary within centennial response times. Finally, rates of sea-level rise reached at least 1.2 m per century during all major episodes of ice-volume reduction.
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We thank A. Dutton for comments that improved the manuscript. S. Lee helped with the use of OxCal. This study contributes to UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) projects NE/H004424/1, NE/E01531X/1 and NE/I009906/1, to a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (E.J.R.), and to a 2012 Australian Laureate Fellowship FL120100050 (E.J.R.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Grant, K., Rohling, E., Bar-Matthews, M. et al. Rapid coupling between ice volume and polar temperature over the past 150,000 years. Nature 491, 744–747 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11593
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