There is an interesting News Focus story in this week’s Science journal, that helps to confirm the different climate histrories for the East and West Antarctic ice sheets – a phenomenon that persists in modern times:
A surprising cache of ancient plant material adds evidence for divergent climate histories of the East and West Antarctic ice sheets over the past 14 million years
Excerpt: These findings appear to be contradictory at first glance, but in fact they buttress an evolving view among scientists that the two major features of the continent, the western and eastern ice sheets, have experienced vastly different climate histories. Data from the Dry Valleys reveals an East Antarctic Ice Sheet that is high, dry, cold, and stable, at least in its central area. And the ANDRILL cores suggest a more volatile West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is subject to the changing temperatures of the sea in which it wades. “It reaffirms the fragility of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet [WAIS] and the stability of the central part of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet,” says Peter Barrett, a sedimentologist at the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in New Zealand, who advised the ANDRILL project.