Unravelling the History of Climate Change
The spatial configuration of the Antarctic ice sheet has fluctuated widely during the Late Quaternary, primarily in response to climate and sea-level forcings. Ice core time-series have long been used as proxy climate records for the Antarctic ice sheet surface and polar atmosphere, and there has been a major multinational effort to drill ice cores on or near the summit of ice domes to retrieve the longest possible records. The annual layering of ice accumulation has afforded high resolution proxy climate records on annual to decadal intervals, spanning a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of years. These time-series have also detailed the changes in the ice sheet surface elevation and dynamics, particularly since the transition from glacial to Holocene climate. However, ice sheet sensitivity to external forcings and the associated fluctuations in ice volume are probably best researched around the ice sheet's margins. The sedimentary record in these circumAntarctic margins holds the key to our unravelling of past and future responses of the Antarctic ice sheet and circumpolar oceans to climate and environmental change, including: fluctuations in ice volume; the distribution of ice shelves; the production of Antarctic bottom water; the variability in the fast ice and pack ice characteristics; biogeochemical cycling and marine productivity; and the evolutionary response of marine and terrestrial species and ecosystems.