Fundamental characteristics of the climate system during the most recent precessional cycle of the Earth's orbit around the Sun consist of the final expansion of land ice to its maximum extent, the subsequent episode of deglaciation, and the variations of global sea level that accompanied these events. In order to address the important issue of the variation of continental ice volume and related changes in global sea level through the late glacial period, we employ an extended set of observations of the pre-glacial and postglacial history of sea-level rise at the island of Barbados, together with a refined model of continental deglaciation and an accurate methodology for the prediction of postglacial sea-level change. Although our results provide unambiguous evidence that the post LGM rise of eustatic sea-level was very close to the widely supported estimate of 120m, the data also provide evidence that LGM must have occurred 26,000 years ago, approximately 5000 yr earlier than the usually assumed age. (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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