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Sunday, September 13, 2009

M Vizcaíno et al Clim.Dyn. Long-term ice sheet–climate interactions under anthropogenic greenhouse forcing simulated with a complex Earth System Model

Climate Dynamics, Vol. 31, No. 6 (1 November 2008), pp. 665-690; DOI: 10.1007/s00382-008-0369-7

Long-term ice sheet–climate interactions under anthropogenic greenhouse forcing simulated with a complex Earth System Model

Miren Vizcaíno1, 2 Contact Information, Uwe Mikolajewicz1, Matthias Gröger1, 3, Ernst Maier-Reimer1, Guy Schurgers1, 4 and Arne M. E. Winguth

(1) Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Bundestrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
(2) Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A.
(3) Present address: IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany
(4) Present address: Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
(5) Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Center for Climatic Research, Madison, WI, U.S.A.

(Received 16 April 2007, accepted 9 January 2008, published online 30 January 2008.)


Several multi-century and multi-millennia simulations have been performed with a complex Earth System Model (ESM) for different anthropogenic climate change scenarios in order to study the long-term evolution of sea level and the impact of ice sheet changes on the climate system. The core of the ESM is a coupled coarse-resolution Atmosphere–Ocean General Circulation Model (AOGCM). Ocean biogeochemistry, land vegetation and ice sheets are included as components of the ESM. The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) decays in all simulations, while the Antarctic ice sheet contributes negatively to sea level rise, due to enhanced storage of water caused by larger snowfall rates. Freshwater flux increases from Greenland are one order of magnitude smaller than total freshwater flux increases into the North Atlantic basin (the sum of the contribution from changes in precipitation, evaporation, run-off and Greenland meltwater) and do not play an important role in changes in the strength of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (NAMOC). The regional climate change associated with weakening/collapse of the NAMOC drastically reduces the decay rate of the GrIS. The dynamical changes due to GrIS topography modification driven by mass balance changes act first as a negative feedback for the decay of the ice sheet, but accelerate the decay at a later stage. The increase of surface temperature due to reduced topographic heights causes a strong acceleration of the decay of the ice sheet in the long term. Other feedbacks between ice sheet and atmosphere are not important for the mass balance of the GrIS until it is reduced to 3/4 of the original size. From then, the reduction in the albedo of Greenland strongly accelerates the decay of the ice sheet.

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