Project 1611P: The Last Glacial Maximum in the Southern Hemisphere (SHeMax)
The SHeMax project seeks to develop a greater understanding of the timing and nature of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the Southern Hemisphere. In order to achieve this, proxy data archived in marine and terrestrial records from different palaeoclimatic settings in the Southern Hemisphere are analysed for the period 35-15 kyr BP, encompassing the termination of the last glacial cycle, and the traditionally-accepted timing of the global LGM (ca. 24-18 kyr BP). Emerging evidence suggests that instead of being a relatively short event centered on 21 kyr BP, the LGM in the Southern Hemisphere may have been an extended period of time, with an early onset at 35-30 kyr BP. It has also been suggested that the LGM was not uniformly cool and dry, but may have been characterized by millennial-scale variability.
In this project, records from high-resolution marine and coastal sediments, lake sediments, speleothems, ice cores, glacial moraines, dunes and fluvial systems are compared to produce a synthesis of climatic variability and explore the premise of an extended LGM in the Southern Hemisphere. The spatial focus is ca. 20-80oS, allowing us to investigate teleconnections between the mid- and high-latitudes. In addition to the synthesis of environmental conditions, we are suggesting drivers and/or triggers of climatic variability.
A significant component of the SHeMax project is the comparison of proxy data with model simulations for the LGM e.g. PMIP, SynTRACE-21. The project will also investigate the response of humans during the LGM to climatic variability, in terms of settlement, migration and cultural development.