Longterm responses to Holocene climate change

These rapid responses to contemporary climate change discussed in the previous section are not the whole story. The scale of East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets is such that their dynamic response to any change might take in the order of 10,000 and 100,000yr respectively, thus we should consider any rapid response to contemporary climate change as overprinting on the long-term trend of an ongoing response to millennial-scale changes. If we are unfortunate, the two effects will interact in a complicated manner and the prediction of future change will be considerably more difficult as a result. Either way, we need to establish the pattern of long-term change in the ice sheet as a separate phenomenon and some recent studies are now providing direct evidence of such changes.

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