The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming areas worldwide. Marine sediment cores from the Bransfield Strait - a passage between the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands - help to answer the question if similar (natural) warming periods already occurred in the past and how these temperature fluctuations were associated with changes in the extent of the sea ice cover in the Southern Ocean.
The Amundsen Sea is also affected by a significant loss of sea ice. Frequent calving of icebergs from the Pine Island Glacier, which extends into the Amundsen Sea may be related to the warming of this area. Sediment cores will provide information on the effect of changes in ocean temperature and sea ice coverage on the dynamics of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the geological past.
Recently recovered sediment cores from the Weddell Sea provide an excellent opportunity of assessing the impact of changes in sea ice cover and ocean temperature on Antarctic ice-shelves during the last interglacial – a relatively warm climate interval that is often regarded as potential analogue for the current and future climate warming.