So far ice cores reach only through the last third (800 ka) of the Pleistocene epoch (Jouzel et al., 2007). However, for that period they provide iconic datasets that can help to unlock some aspects of Antarctic climate evolution. This is because they supply a record of Antarctic climate (temperature and precipitation) that drives the evolution of the ice sheet, and they also supply the records of the most important forcings (especially greenhouse gases, but less directly other forcings); these have in turn presumably controlled the climate. One thing ice cores cannot constrain so well is the response of the ice sheets to climate change, and that is the value of the continental shelf and deep marine geological records, and the integration of both.
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