BRITICE-CHRONO: Constraining Rates and Style of Marine-Influenced Ice Sheet Decay.

Understanding the rate and style of retreat of the last British & Irish ice sheet.

Duration: From 2012 – 2017.

This project takes place in the British Isles and its surrounding seas and consists of improving ice sheet modelling in a warming world, to predict rates of sea level rise.

We propose a systematic and directed campaign to collect and date material to constrain the timing and rates of change of the marine-influenced sectors of the collapsing British Irish Ice Sheet.

Hypothesis 1: that the marine-influenced sectors collapsed rapidly (<1000 years) and that once onshore the ice sheet stabilised and retreated more slowly.

Hypothesis 2: that the main ice catchments draining the BIIS retreated synchronously in response to external climatic and sea-level controls.

Hypothesis 3: that the ice-rafted debris (IRD) fluxes derived from the BIIS on the adjacent continental margin is a function of changes in ice sheet mass balance.

The following is anticipated:

1. An empirically-based reconstruction of ice retreat taking the form of maps and timeslices during deglaciation, and ice sheet modelling experiments fitted to these timeslices will yield ice sheet thickness from which volume estimates of mass loss can be computed and converted into sea-level equivalent.

2. BRITICE-CHRONO data compilation: all geo-chronometric data made available for future multidisciplinary research as a quality-controlled database (all existing and new dates, ≈1600) with metadata and GIS layers. Reconstructed ice margins will be made freely available specifically to encourage future ice sheet modelling.

3. Engagement of the modelling and evidence-based communities. Through our involvement with leading ice sheet modellers on our Advisory Panel, and integration of our data in model simulations we anticipate a much stronger engagement between the modelling and palaeodata communities.

Researchers involved in this project include: Chris Clark, Grant Bigg, Mark Bateman, Jeremy Ely, Stephen Livingstone, Alicia Medialdea.