Antipodean glaciers confirm complementary southern Younger Dryas warming

Studies of air-temperature proxies in cores from the Antarctic ice cap show a roughly mirrored climate record to that found in the Greenland ice. While the Northern Hemisphere underwent a sudden climate collapse into almost full-glacial conditions around 12.9 ka and an equally dramatic warming around 11.7 ka, Antarctica steadily warmed over the same period to reach full interglacial conditions by 11.5. That this climatic inversion reached relatively low southern latitudes is confirmed by a record of the changing size of glaciers on mountains in New Zealand’s South Island (Kaplan, M.R. and 9 others 2010. Glacier retreat in New Zealand during the Younger Dryas stadial. Nature, v. 467, p. 194-197). The US-New Zealand-Norwegian-French partnership used detailed geomorphological mapping, and cosmogenic isotope studies of exposed rock fragments to show that after about 13 ka glaciers retreated by more than a kilometre in the succeeding 1500 years in contrast to the dramatic glacial advances in northern areas such as the Scottish Highlands.

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