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The deglaciation of the Americas during the Last Glacial Termination.

Palacios, David and Stokes, Chris R. and Phillips, Fred M. and Clague, John J. and Alcalá-Reygosa, Jesus and Andres, Nuria and Angel, Isandra and Blard, Pierre-Henri and Briner, Jason P. and Hall, Brenda L. and Dahms, Dennis and Hein, Andrew S. and Jomelli, Vincent and Mark, Bryan G. and Martini, Mateo A. and Moreno, Patricio and Riedel, Jon and Sagredo, Esteban and Stansell, Nathan D. and Vazquez-Selem, Lorenzo and Vuille, Mathias and Ward, Dylan J. (2020) 'The deglaciation of the Americas during the Last Glacial Termination.', Earth-science reviews., 203 . p. 103113.


This paper reviews current understanding of deglaciation in North, Central and South America from the Last Glacial Maximum to the beginning of the Holocene. Together with paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic data, we compare and contrast the pace of deglaciation and the response of glaciers to major climate events. During the Global Last Glacial Maximum (GLGM, 26.5-19 ka), average temperatures decreased 4° to 8°C in the Americas, but precipitation varied strongly throughout this large region. Many glaciers in North and Central America achieved their maximum extent during the GLGM, whereas others advanced even farther during the subsequent Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS-1). Glaciers in the Andes also expanded during the GLGM, but that advance was not the largest, except on Tierra del Fuego. HS-1 (17.5-14.6 ka) was a time of general glacier thickening and advance throughout most of North and Central America, and in the tropical Andes; however, glaciers in the temperate and subpolar Andes thinned and retreated during this period. During the Bølling-Allerød interstadial (B-A, 14.6-12.9 ka), glaciers retreated throughout North and Central America and, in some cases, completely disappeared. Many glaciers advanced during the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR, 14.6-12.9 ka) in the tropical Andes and Patagonia. There were small advances of glaciers in North America, Central America and in northern South America (Venezuela) during the Younger Dryas (12.9-11.7 ka), but glaciers in central and southern South America retreated during this period, except on the Altiplano where advances were driven by an increase in precipitation. Taken together, we suggest that there was a climate compensation effect, or ‘seesaw’, between the hemispheres, which affected not only marine currents and atmospheric circulation, but also the behavior of glaciers. This seesaw is consistent with the opposing behavior of many glaciers in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:03 February 2020
Date deposited:12 February 2020
Date of first online publication:05 February 2020
Date first made open access:05 February 2021

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