High tide of the warm pliocene: Implications of global sea level for Antarctic deglaciation

Kenneth G. Miller, James D. Wright, James V. Browning, Andrew Kulpecz, Michelle Kominz, Tim R. Naish, Benjamin S. Cramer, Yair Rosenthal, W. Richard Peltier, Sindia Sosdian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


We obtained global sea-level (eustatic) estimates with a peak of ~22 m higher than present for the Pliocene interval 2.7-3.2 Ma from backstripping in Virginia (United States), New Zealand, and Enewetak Atoll (north Pacific Ocean), benthic foraminiferal 18O values, and Mg/Ca- δ18O estimates. Statistical analysis indicates that it is likely (68% confidence interval) that peak sea level was 22 ± 5 m higher than modern, and extremely likely (95%) that it was 22 ± 10 m higher than modern. Benthic foraminiferal δ18O values appear to require that the peak was <20-21 m. Our estimates imply loss of the equivalent of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and some volume loss from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and address the longstanding controversy concerning the Pliocene stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-410
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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