The Yin and Yang of Holocene Polar Regions

Guest post by Renee Hannon


The Arctic and Antarctic regions are different and yet similar in many ways. The Arctic has ocean surrounded by land and the Antarctic is a continent surrounded by water. Both are cold, glaciated and located at Earth’s poles some 11,000 miles apart. While sea ice has been retreating in the Arctic, it has been relatively stable in the Antarctic. This post examines surface temperature trends, solar insolation, and CO2 at the polar Arctic and Antarctic regions during the Holocene interglacial period.

Holocene Polar Temperature Trends are Out of Phase

The Holocene interglacial started about 11,000 years ago after termination of the previous glacial period. It is commonly described as consisting of an early Holocene climate optimum from approximately 10,000 to 6,000 years before present (BP, before 1950). This optimum is followed by a pronounced cooling in the mid-late Holocene referred to as the Neoglacial period which culminates in the Little Ice Age (LIA) around 1800 years AD (Lui, 2014).

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#average-global-temperature, #polar-temperatures