Hot on the trail of the causes of rapid ice sheet instabilities in climate history

Extreme cooling events during the last glacial, known as Heinrich Events in the North Atlantic, are a good example of how local processes change the global climate. While the impacts of Heinrich Events on the global glacial environment are well-documented in the scientific literature, their causes are still unclear. In a new study, researchers have now shown that an accumulation of heat in the deeper Labrador Sea caused instabilities in the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which covered much of North America at the time. The Heinrich Events were triggered as a result.