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Timing, pace and controls on ice sheet retreat: an introduction to the BRITICE‐CHRONO transect reconstructions of the British–Irish Ice Sheet

Clark, Chris D. and Chiverrell, Richard C. and Fabel, Derek and Hindmarsh, Richard C. A. and Ó Cofaigh, Colm and Scourse, James D. (2021) 'Timing, pace and controls on ice sheet retreat: an introduction to the BRITICE‐CHRONO transect reconstructions of the British–Irish Ice Sheet.', Journal of Quaternary Science, 36 (5). pp. 673-680.


Motivated to help improve the robustness of predictions of sea level rise, the BRITICE-CHRONO project advanced knowledge of the former British–Irish Ice Sheet, from 31 to 15 ka, so that it can be used as a data-rich environment to improve ice sheet modelling. The project comprised over 40 palaeoglaciologists, covering expertise in terrestrial and marine geology and geomorphology, geochronometric dating and the modelling of ice sheets and oceans. A systematic and directed campaign, organised across eight transects from the continental shelf edge to a short distance (10s of kilometres) onshore, was used to collect 914 samples which yielded 639 new ages, tripling the number of dated sites constraining the timing and rates of change of the collapsing ice sheet. This special issue synthesises these findings of ice advancing to the maximum extent and its subsequent retreat for each of the eight transects to produce definitive palaeogeographic reconstructions of ice margin positions across the marine to terrestrial transition. These results are used to understand the controls that drove or modulated ice sheet retreat. A further paper reports on how ice sheet modelling experiments and empirical data can be used in combination, and another probes the glaciological meaning of ice-rafted debris.

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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors Journal of Quaternary Science Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:09 April 2021
Date deposited:14 July 2021
Date of first online publication:31 May 2021
Date first made open access:14 July 2021

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