The Antarctic contribution to Holocene global sea level rise

  • Ólafur Ingólfsson
  • Christian Hjort


The Holocene glacial and climatic development in Antarctica differed considerably from that in the Northern Hemisphere. Initial deglaciation of inner shelf and adjacent land areas in Antarctica dates back to between 10-8 Kya, when most Northern Hemisphere ice sheets had already disappeared or diminished considerably. The continued deglaciation of currently ice-free land in Antarctica occurred gradually between ca. 8-5 Kya. A large southern portion of the marine-based Ross Ice Sheet disintegrated during this late deglaciation phase. Some currently ice-free areas were deglaciated as late as 3 Kya. Between 8-5 Kya, global glacio-eustatically driven sea level rose by 10-17m, with 4-8 m of this increase occurring after 7 Kya. Since the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets had practically disappeared by 8-7 Kya, we suggest that Antarctic deglaciation caused a considerable part of the global sea level rise between 8-7 Kya, and most of it between 7-5 Kya. The global mid-Holocene sea level high stand, broadly dated to between 8-4 Kya, and the Littorina-Tapes transgressions in Scandinavia and simultaneous transgressions recorded from sites e.g. in Svalbard and Greenland, dated to 7-5 Kya, probably reflect input of meltwater from the Antarctic deglaciation.


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How to Cite
Ingólfsson Ólafur, & Hjort C. (1999). The Antarctic contribution to Holocene global sea level rise. Polar Research, 18(2), 323-330.

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