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Episodes 2020; 43(1): 575-585

Published online March 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Palaeoclimatic records from Antarctica and Southern Ocean: A review of Indian contributions

Meloth Thamban

ESSO – National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Vasco da Gama, Goa 403804, India; E-mail: meloth@ncpor.res.in

Correspondence to:E-mail: meloth@ncpor.res.in

Received: January 1, 2019; Revised: May 10, 2019; Accepted: May 10, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polar regions are highly sensitive to climate change and are crucial for regulating the Earth’s climate. While the past climatic changes were forced differently than the ongoing and future anthropogenic changes, such periods may provide insights into potential future climate impacts and ecosystem feedbacks, especially over centennial-to-millennial timescales that are often not covered by climate model simulations. As part of the initiatives to better understand the polar climate system and its global linkages, Indian scientists have been undertaking palaeoclimatic studies, mainly from the Antarctica, its margins and the surrounding Southern Ocean. Antarctic palaeoclimate records come primarily from proxy records of ice cores or marine and lake sediment cores. Among ice core records, the Indian contributions have been focussing on a network of annually resolved shallow depth ice cores to reconstruct the Antarctic climate variability and its regional and global climatic teleconnections, especially during the past few centuries. Compared to this, the Antarctic lake sediment records have focussed on long-term climate variability, especially during the late Quaternary. Recently, as part of the collaborative initiatives under the International Ocean Discovery Program, Indian scientists have been studying longer sedimentary records from the Antarctic continental margin that offer opportunity to study the evolution and dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheets since their formation during the Cenozoic.