Climatic Change

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 353–374 | Cite as

Glacial cycles and ice-sheet modelling

  • J. Oerlemans
Article

Abstract

An attempt is made to simulate the Pleistocene glacial cycles with a numerical model of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. This model treats the vertically-integrated ice flow along a meridian, including computation of bedrock adjustment and temperature distribution in the ice. Basal melt water is traced and controls ice-mass discharge.

The model produces asymmetric glacial cycles, even when it is not forced. Model parameters can be chosen such that cycles with a duration of about 100 000 yr occur. Due to the production of basal melt water and bedrock sinking, deglaciations are very rapid.

The occurrence of glacial cycles in the model is a stable feature, but thephase of the cycles is very sensitive to the model parameters. The main conclusion is that ice-sheet dynamics may provide an explanation for the Pleistocene glacial cycles. However, the ‘predictability’ of the ice-volume record appears to be small.

Keywords

Numerical Model Temperature Distribution Northern Hemisphere Pleistocene Stable Feature 

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Co 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Oerlemans
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Meteorology and Oceanography, University of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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