Abstract / Description of output
A time-dependent model is used to investigate the interaction between climate, extent and fluctuations of Patagonian ice sheet between 45° and 48°S during the last glacial maximum (LGM) and its subsequent deglaciation. The model is applied at 2 km resolution and enables ice thickness, lithospheric response and ice deformation and sliding to interact freely and is perturbed from present day by relative changes in sea level and equilibrium line altitude (ELA). Experiments implemented to identify an LGM configuration compatible with the available empirical record, indicate that a stepped ELA lowering of 750 to 950 m is required over 15000 years to bracket the Fenix I-V suite of moraines at Lago Buenos Aires. However, 900 m of ELA lowering yields an ice sheet which best matches the Fenix V moraine (c. 23000 a BP) and Caldenius’ reconstructed LGM limit for the entire modelled area. This optimum LGM experiment yields a highly dynamic, low aspect ice sheet, with a mean ice thickness of c. 1130 m drained by numerous large ice streams to the western, seaward margin and two large, fast-flowing outlet lobes to the east. Forcing this scenario into deglaciation using a re-scaled Vostok ice core record results in an ice sheet that slowly shrinks by 25% to c. 14500 a bp, after which it experiences a rapid collapse, loosing some 85% of its volume in c. 800 years. Its margins stabilize during the Antarctic Cold Reversal after which it shrinks to near present-day limits by 11 000 a bp.