Further understanding of past climate requires a robust estimate of global ice volume fluctuations that in turn rely on accurate global sea-level reconstructions. An advantage of Marine Isotope Stage 2 (MIS 2) is the availability of suitable material for radiocarbon dating to allow comparison of sea-level data with other paleoclimatic proxies. However, the number and accuracy of sea-level records during MIS 2 is currently lacking. Here we present the history of MIS 2 eustatic sea-level change as recorded in the Bonaparte Gulf, northwestern Australia by reconstructing relative sea level and then modeling glacial isostatic adjustment. The isostatically-corrected global sea-level history indicates that sea-level plateaued from 25.9 to 20.4 cal kyr BP (modeled median probability) prior reaching its minimum (19.7 to 19.1 cal kyr BP). Following the plateau, we detect a 10-m global sea-level fall over ~1,000 years and a short duration of the Last Glacial Maximum (global sea-level minimum; 19.7 to 19.1 cal kyr BP). These large changes in ice volume over such a short time indicates that the continental ice sheets never reached their isostatic equilibrium during the Last Glacial Maximum.
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