Modelling sea level data from China and Malay-Thailand to estimate Holocene ice-volume equivalent sea level change

Sarah L. Bradley, Glenn A. Milne, Benjamin P. Horton, Yongqiang Zong

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This study presents a new model of Holocene ice-volume equivalent sea level (ESL), extending a previously published global ice sheet model (Bassett et al., 2005), which was unconstrained from 10 kyr BP to present. This new model was developed by comparing relative sea level (RSL) predictions from a glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) model to a suite of Holocene sea level index points from China and Malay-Thailand. Three consistent data-model misfits were found using the Bassett et al. (2005) model: an over-prediction in the height of maximum sea level, the timing of this maximum, and the temporal variation of sea level from the time of the highstand to present.The data-model misfits were examined for a large suite of ESL scenarios and a range of earth model parameters to determine an optimum model of Holocene ESL. This model is characterised by a slowdown in melting at ~7 kyr BP, associated with the final deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, followed by a continued rise in ESL until ~1 kyr BP of ~5.8 m associated with melting from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. It was not possible to identify an earth viscosity model that provided good fits for both regions; with the China data preferring viscosity values in the upper mantle of less than 1.5 × 1020 Pa s and the Malay-Thailand data preferring greater values. We suggest that this inference of a very weak upper mantle for the China data originates from the nearby subduction zone and Hainan Plume. The low viscosity values may also account for the lack of a well-defined highstand at the China sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Global and Planetary Change


  • Adjustment modelling
  • Antarctic ice sheet glacial isostatic
  • Eustatic sea level
  • Holocene sea level


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