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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 1 | Copyright
Clim. Past, 12, 115-127, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 22 Jan 2016

Research article | 22 Jan 2016

Laurentide Ice Sheet basal temperatures during the last glacial cycle as inferred from borehole data

C. Pickler1, H. Beltrami2,3, and J.-C. Mareschal1 C. Pickler et al.
  • 1GEOTOP, Centre de Recherche en Géochimie et en Géodynamique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • 2Climate & Atmospheric Sciences Institute and Department of Earth Sciences, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 3Centre ESCER pour l'étude et la simulation du climat à l'échelle régionale, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Canada

Abstract. Thirteen temperature–depth profiles ( ≥ 1500m) measured in boreholes in eastern and central Canada were inverted to determine the ground surface temperature histories during and after the last glacial cycle. The sites are located in the southern part of the region that was covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The inversions yield ground surface temperatures ranging from −1.4 to 3.0°C throughout the last glacial cycle. These temperatures, near the pressure melting point of ice, allowed basal flow and fast flowing ice streams at the base of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Despite such conditions, which have been inferred from geomorphological data, the ice sheet persisted throughout the last glacial cycle. Our results suggest some regional trends in basal temperatures with possible control by internal heat flow.

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