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Sample records for future ice sheet

  1. Commitments to future retreat of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, Robert; Pollard, David

    2016-04-01

    The agreement reached at the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change is aimed at limiting future increases in global mean temperature below 2°C. Here, we use a continental ice sheet/shelf model with new treatments of meltwater-enhanced calving (hydrofracturing) and marine terminating ice-cliffs, to explore future commitments to sea-level rise given limits of global mean warming between 1 and 3°C. In this case, ice-sheet model physics are calibrated against past ice-sheet response to temperatures warmer than today. The ice-sheet model is coupled to highly resolved atmosphere and ocean-model components, with imposed limits on future warming designed to mimic the idealized limits discussed at COP21. Both the short and long-term potential rise in global mean sea level are discussed in light of the range of allowances agreed in Paris. We also explore the sensitivity of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to plausible ranges of atmospheric versus ocean warming consistent with global mean temperatures between 1 and 3°C; and the resulting long-term commitments to sea-level rise over the coming centuries and millennia.

  2. Ice-sheet contributions to future sea-level change.

    PubMed

    Gregory, J M; Huybrechts, P

    2006-07-15

    Accurate simulation of ice-sheet surface mass balance requires higher spatial resolution than is afforded by typical atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs), owing, in particular, to the need to resolve the narrow and steep margins where the majority of precipitation and ablation occurs. We have developed a method for calculating mass-balance changes by combining ice-sheet average time-series from AOGCM projections for future centuries, both with information from high-resolution climate models run for short periods and with a 20km ice-sheet mass-balance model. Antarctica contributes negatively to sea level on account of increased accumulation, while Greenland contributes positively because ablation increases more rapidly. The uncertainty in the results is about 20% for Antarctica and 35% for Greenland. Changes in ice-sheet topography and dynamics are not included, but we discuss their possible effects. For an annual- and area-average warming exceeding 4.5+/-0.9K in Greenland and 3.1+/-0.8K in the global average, the net surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet becomes negative, in which case it is likely that the ice sheet would eventually be eliminated, raising global-average sea level by 7m.

  3. Present and future changes of ice sheets in a coupled ice sheet-climate model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kapsch, Marie; Ziemen, Florian; Mikolajewicz, Uwe

    2017-04-01

    The future evolution of the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica is of importance, as ice sheets hold more than 99% of the Earths' freshwater. If released into the oceans, this freshwater could significantly impact the global climate, most prominently the oceanic overturning circulation and the sea-level. To model past and future climate change it is therefore important to integrate ice sheet models (ISMs) into state-of-the-art Earth System Models (ESMs), in order to account for the full range of feedback processes between ice sheets and other climate components. However, the coupling of ISMs into ESMs remains challenging, especially due to the required downscaling of the surface mass balance (SMB) from the low resolution atmospheric grid of the ESM onto the high resolution ice sheet topography. Here we present results from model simulations with the Max Planck Institute ESM (MPI-ESM) coupled to the Parallel ISM (PISM; http://www.pism-docs.org). To bridge the gap between the different model resolutions of the atmospheric component of MPI-ESM and PISM a sophisticated energy balance model (EBM) is used to calculate and downscale the SMB. The modeled SMB for present-day climate conditions shows good agreement with SMB reconstructions from regional climate modeling (e.g. RACMO, MAR). To estimate the effect of different downscaling methods, simulations performed with the EBM are compared to simulations that use a commonly applied positive degree day approach. These comparisons are shown for simulations with present day as well as increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.

  4. Effects of future Arctic sea ice decline on Greenland ice sheet melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vizcaino, Miren; Michailidou, Egli

    2017-04-01

    CMIP5 models project substantial reduction of the Arctic sea ice cover during the current century, including the onset of a seasonally ice free Arctic. In this study we explore the effects of future Arctic sea-ice change on the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). For this, we use 1850-2100 simulations from the Community Earth System Model version 1.0 corresponding to historical and RCP8.5 scenarios. We examine the impact of Arctic change on the surface energy and mass budgets of the Greenland ice sheet. We distinguish between winter Arctic change and Greenland-melt-season (Spring and Summer) future climate change. We find a substantial reduction in summer incoming shortwave radiation over the GrIS both for clear-sky and all-sky conditions, that reduces the energy available for melt. Because of the large amount of energy that is used during summer to melt sea-ice, we find no amplified summer warming in the ocean around Greenland, except where summer-long ice-free conditions develop. The different nature of the processes controlling sea-ice change along the western and eastern Greenland coast is examined. We find no links in the timing of major sea-ice change and Greenland snow and ice melt, and justify why such a linkage is absent.

  5. Past and Future Vulnerability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to Surface Ice-Shelf Melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.; Kowalewski, D. E.

    2011-12-01

    New sediment core records from the Ross Embayment (ANDRILL) imply dramatic, orbitally paced variability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) over the last five million years (Naish et al., 2009). Time-continuous model simulations of the coupled Antarctic ice sheet-shelf system over this interval are capable of simulating this implied WAIS variability, including sudden, orbitally triggered retreats and subsequent regrowth of nearly all marine ice in West Antarctica. In the model, simulated episodes of WAIS retreat are common during the warm Pliocene, but they also occur during some of the strongest interglacials of the colder Pleistocene. Clearly, the magnitude and millennial timescale of simulated WAIS retreat in response to relatively modest past forcing hints at the potential future vulnerability of the ice sheet. In previous long-term simulations (Pollard and DeConto, 2009), the ice-sheet model was driven by parameterized climatologies (surface temperature, precipitation, sea level, and oceanic sub-ice shelf melt), scaled mainly to deep- sea benthic oxygen isotope records. The model WAIS was found to be highly sensitive to sub-ice-shelf melt rates, with modest increases (~2 m/yr) capable of triggering sudden grounding-line retreat and dynamic thinning in the Ross, Weddell and Amundsen Sea sectors - largely in response to reduced ice-shelf buttressing. Here we present new ice sheet-shelf simulations of specific Pliocene and Pleistocene interglacials, using atmospheric climatologies from a new high-resolution Regional Climate Model. The results show that in addition to increased sub-ice-shelf melt rates, surface melting on ice-shelf surfaces could have been a contributing factor to past episodes of WAIS retreat, providing a simple explanation (orbital forcing of Antarctic surface air temperatures) for the orbital pacing of the events. Simulated increases in surface ice-shelf melt rates in response to elevated greenhouses gas levels are also evaluated, to assess

  6. Paleoclimatic evidence for future ice-sheet instability and rapid sea-level rise.

    PubMed

    Overpeck, Jonathan T; Otto-Bliesner, Bette L; Miller, Gifford H; Muhs, Daniel R; Alley, Richard B; Kiehl, Jeffrey T

    2006-03-24

    Sea-level rise from melting of polar ice sheets is one of the largest potential threats of future climate change. Polar warming by the year 2100 may reach levels similar to those of 130,000 to 127,000 years ago that were associated with sea levels several meters above modern levels; both the Greenland Ice Sheet and portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet may be vulnerable. The record of past ice-sheet melting indicates that the rate of future melting and related sea-level rise could be faster than widely thought.

  7. Paleoclimatic evidence for future ice-sheet instability and rapid sea-level rise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Overpeck, J.T.; Otto-Bliesner, B. L.; Miller, G.H.; Muhs, D.R.; Alley, R.B.; Kiehl, J.T.

    2006-01-01

    Sea-level rise from melting of polar ice sheets is one of the largest potential threats of future climate change. Polar warming by the year 2100 may reach levels similar to those of 130,000 to 127,000 years ago that were associated with sea levels several meters above modern levels; both the Greenland Ice Sheet and portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet may be vulnerable. The record of past ice-sheet melting indicates that the rate of future melting and related sea-level rise could be faster than widely thought.

  8. Potential for future sea-level contributions from the Antarctic ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, Rob; Pollard, David; Gasson, Ed

    2017-04-01

    Recent Antarctic ice-sheet modeling that includes the effects of surface meltwater on ice-sheet dynamics (through hydrofracturing and ice-cliff collapse) has demonstrated the previously underappreciated sensitivity of the ice sheet to atmospheric warming in addition to sub-ice oceanic warming. Here, we improve on our modeling of future ice-sheet retreat by using time-evolving atmospheric climatologies from a high-resolution regional climate model, synchronized with SSTs, subsurface ocean temperatures, and sub-ice melt rates from the NCAR CCSM4 GCM. Ongoing improvements in ice-sheet model physics are tested and calibrated relative to observations of recent and ancient (Pliocene, Last InterGlacial, and Last Deglaciation) ice-sheet responses to warming. The model is applied to a range of future greenhouse-gas emissions scenarios, including modified RCP scenarios corresponding to the 1.5° and 2.0° targets of the Paris Agreement and higher emissions scenarios including RCP8.5. The results imply that a threshold in the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and outlet glaciers in East Antarctica might be exceeded in the absence of aggressive mitigation policies like those discussed in Paris. We also explore the maximum potential for Antarctica to contribute to future sea-level rise in high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, by testing a range of model physical parameters within the bounds of observations.

  9. Learning from the past: Antarctic Eemian ice sheet dynamics as an analogy for future warming.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutter, Johannes; Thoma, Malte; Grosfeld, Klaus; Gierz, Paul; Lohmann, Gerrit

    2015-04-01

    Facing considerable warming during this century the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is under increasing scrutiny. Recent observations suggest that the marine ice sheet instability of the WAIS has already started . We investigate the dynamic evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the last interglacial, forcing a state of the art 3D ice sheet model with Eemian boundary conditions. We elucidate the role of ocean warming and surface mass balance on the coupled ice sheet/shelf and grounding line dynamics. Special focus lies on an ice sheet modeling assessment of Antarctica's potential contribution to global sea level rise during the Eemian. The transient model runs are forced by time slice experiments of a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean global circulation model, as well as different sets of sea level and bedrock reconstructions. The model result show strong evidences for a severe ice-sheet retreat in West Antartica, leading to substantical contribution to global sea level from the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally we compare future warming scenarios of West Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics to our paleo ice sheet modeling studies.

  10. The Importance of History for Predicting the Future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2008-12-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) initiative began in 1990, following on earlier studies of the 'Siple Coast' ice streams and the Ross Ice Shelf. The past nearly two decades of field and satellite research of the West Antarctic ice sheet have produced an astounding number of discoveries, not the least of which is the variability of the West Antarctic ice sheet on time scales from seconds (yes, seconds!) to many millennia. The shorter-time-scale variations, such as the recent acceleration and thinning of glaciers draining into the Amundsen Sea, have illustrated serious weaknesses in what were once regarded as excellent models of ice sheet dynamics. Repairing this modeling capability requires understanding and incorporating external and internal processes previously regarded as less important. Ice-sheet history remains the best means to test, tune and validate numerical models of ice sheets. Cenozoic-age behavior may seem too ancient to matter to a centennial-time-scale focus on the future, but it is precisely through a long history, that the variety of more extreme ice sheet configurations can be extracted. Such upper or lower bound estimates have served the WAIS community well over the years to help justify research needed to assess the probability of dramatic behavior. Now, with the necessity of model revisions central to the WAIS effort, time histories of ice sheet behavior over both short and long time scales will return to a position of extreme importance.

  11. Future Antarctic Bed Topography and Its Implications for Ice Sheet Dynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adhikari, Surendra; Ivins, Erik R.; Larour, Eric Y.; Seroussi, Helene L.; Morlighem, Mathieu; Nowicki, S.

    2014-01-01

    The Antarctic bedrock is evolving as the solid Earth responds to the past and ongoing evolution of the ice sheet. A recently improved ice loading history suggests that the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) has generally been losing its mass since the Last Glacial Maximum. In a sustained warming climate, the AIS is predicted to retreat at a greater pace, primarily via melting beneath the ice shelves.We employ the glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) capability of the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) to combine these past and future ice loadings and provide the new solid Earth computations for the AIS.We find that past loading is relatively less important than future loading for the evolution of the future bed topography. Our computations predict that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) may uplift by a few meters and a few tens of meters at years AD 2100 and 2500, respectively, and that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is likely to remain unchanged or subside minimally except around the Amery Ice Shelf. The Amundsen Sea Sector in particular is predicted to rise at the greatest rate; one hundred years of ice evolution in this region, for example, predicts that the coastline of Pine Island Bay will approach roughly 45mmyr-1 in viscoelastic vertical motion. Of particular importance, we systematically demonstrate that the effect of a pervasive and large GIA uplift in the WAIS is generally associated with the flattening of reverse bed slope, reduction of local sea depth, and thus the extension of grounding line (GL) towards the continental shelf. Using the 3-D higher-order ice flow capability of ISSM, such a migration of GL is shown to inhibit the ice flow. This negative feedback between the ice sheet and the solid Earth may promote stability in marine portions of the ice sheet in the future.

  12. Long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calov, Reinhard; Robinson, Alex; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2015-04-01

    We investigate the impact of future cumulative anthropogenic emissions on the fate of the Greenland ice sheet. For this study, we use the polythermal ice sheet model SICOPOLIS, which is bi-directionally coupled with the regional climate model of intermediate complexity REMBO. We constrain our model parameters with simulations over two glacial cycles employing anomalies from the global CLIMBER-2 model. CLIMBER-2 treats the major components or the Earth system, including atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial vegetation and carbon cycle. As constraints we include the cumulative error in ice thickness, the surface mass balance partition (ratio between precipitation and ice discharge) and the ice elevation drop between Eemian and present-day at the NEEM ice core location. Our model includes a new ice discharge parameterization, which describes the ice loss via small-scale outlet glaciers in a heuristic statistical approach. Using the large-ensemble of model versions consistent with our constraints, we estimate the range of the long-term future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise under global warming. On the 100,000-year time scale, there is a visible modulation over the CO2 signal in the simulated Greenland ice volume caused by the 20,000 years precessional cycle of insolation. In nearly all of our scenarios (500 to 5000 Gt carbon cumulative emissions), the Greenland is sheet fully decays in the future after at least 40,000 years. For the extreme scenario (5000 Gt), the Greenland ice sheet decays much faster - after about 5000 years, while there is still 80% of the ice sheet left after 40,000 years only for the model versions with a low temperature sensitivity and the low cumulative carbon emission scenario (500 Gt). Our results underline that without future negative CO2 emissions, irreversible loss of Greenland ice sheet is essentially unavoidable.

  13. The future of ice sheets and sea ice: between reversible retreat and unstoppable loss.

    PubMed

    Notz, Dirk

    2009-12-08

    We discuss the existence of cryospheric "tipping points" in the Earth's climate system. Such critical thresholds have been suggested to exist for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice and the retreat of ice sheets: Once these ice masses have shrunk below an anticipated critical extent, the ice-albedo feedback might lead to the irreversible and unstoppable loss of the remaining ice. We here give an overview of our current understanding of such threshold behavior. By using conceptual arguments, we review the recent findings that such a tipping point probably does not exist for the loss of Arctic summer sea ice. Hence, in a cooler climate, sea ice could recover rapidly from the loss it has experienced in recent years. In addition, we discuss why this recent rapid retreat of Arctic summer sea ice might largely be a consequence of a slow shift in ice-thickness distribution, which will lead to strongly increased year-to-year variability of the Arctic summer sea-ice extent. This variability will render seasonal forecasts of the Arctic summer sea-ice extent increasingly difficult. We also discuss why, in contrast to Arctic summer sea ice, a tipping point is more likely to exist for the loss of the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic ice sheet.

  14. Surface Energy and Mass Balance Model for Greenland Ice Sheet and Future Projections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Xiaojian

    The Greenland Ice Sheet contains nearly 3 million cubic kilometers of glacial ice. If the entire ice sheet completely melted, sea level would raise by nearly 7 meters. There is thus considerable interest in monitoring the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Each year, the ice sheet gains ice from snowfall and loses ice through iceberg calving and surface melting. In this thesis, we develop, validate and apply a physics based numerical model to estimate current and future surface mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The numerical model consists of a coupled surface energy balance and englacial model that is simple enough that it can be used for long time scale model runs, but unlike previous empirical parameterizations, has a physical basis. The surface energy balance model predicts ice sheet surface temperature and melt production. The englacial model predicts the evolution of temperature and meltwater within the ice sheet. These two models can be combined with estimates of precipitation (snowfall) to estimate the mass balance over the Greenland Ice Sheet. We first compare model performance with in-situ observations to demonstrate that the model works well. We next evaluate how predictions are degraded when we statistically downscale global climate data. We find that a simple, nearest neighbor interpolation scheme with a lapse rate correction is able to adequately reproduce melt patterns on the Greenland Ice Sheet. These results are comparable to those obtained using empirical Positive Degree Day (PDD) methods. Having validated the model, we next drove the ice sheet model using the suite of atmospheric model runs available through the CMIP5 atmospheric model inter-comparison, which in turn built upon the RCP 8.5 (business as usual) scenarios. From this exercise we predict how much surface melt production will increase in the coming century. This results in 4-10 cm sea level equivalent, depending on the CMIP5 models. Finally, we try to bound melt water

  15. The future of ice sheets and sea ice: Between reversible retreat and unstoppable loss

    PubMed Central

    Notz, Dirk

    2009-01-01

    We discuss the existence of cryospheric “tipping points” in the Earth's climate system. Such critical thresholds have been suggested to exist for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice and the retreat of ice sheets: Once these ice masses have shrunk below an anticipated critical extent, the ice–albedo feedback might lead to the irreversible and unstoppable loss of the remaining ice. We here give an overview of our current understanding of such threshold behavior. By using conceptual arguments, we review the recent findings that such a tipping point probably does not exist for the loss of Arctic summer sea ice. Hence, in a cooler climate, sea ice could recover rapidly from the loss it has experienced in recent years. In addition, we discuss why this recent rapid retreat of Arctic summer sea ice might largely be a consequence of a slow shift in ice-thickness distribution, which will lead to strongly increased year-to-year variability of the Arctic summer sea-ice extent. This variability will render seasonal forecasts of the Arctic summer sea-ice extent increasingly difficult. We also discuss why, in contrast to Arctic summer sea ice, a tipping point is more likely to exist for the loss of the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic ice sheet. PMID:19884496

  16. Future Evolution of Antarctic Bed Topography and Its Implications for Ice Sheet Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adhikari, S.; Ivins, E. R.; Larour, E. Y.; Seroussi, H. L.

    2013-12-01

    The recently concluded Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution (SeaRISE) project (Bindschadler et al., 2013; Nowicki et al., 2013) provides some clues regarding the future evolution of Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) in a warming climate. Using the glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) capability of Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), we combine the relevant SeaRISE results with possibly the best available GIA ice loading history for the past 21 kyr (Ivins et al., 2013), and provide first-order estimates of future uplift of AIS. While the model predicts minor subsidence in the interior of the east AIS and along the Wilkes Land, we find that the west AIS (Amundsen sea sector, in particular) may uplift by a few meters and a few tens of meters over the next 100 and 500 years, respectively. Such uneven changes in topography imply that the bed slope will be modulated in the future, thereby potentially controlling the grounding line migration and eventually the ice sheet dynamics. Using hydrostatic equilibrium criterion and through high-order modeling of AIS, we demonstrate that proper treatment of GIA response is crucial on centennial timescale, as it promotes systematic, although mild, stability to marine portions of the ice sheet.

  17. A smaller Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Pliocene and in the Future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, Robert; Pollard, David

    2013-04-01

    The middle Pliocene epoch (around 3.3 to 3) million years ago is often considered an analogue for future global climatic conditions, because mixing ratios of atmospheric CO2 were similar to today and global mean temperature was about 3°C warmer, comparable to projections of future climate at the end of this century (IPCC 2007). Importantly, some estimates of mid-Pliocene sea level are >20 m higher than today, implying the potential for significant retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), in addition to complete loss of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets (WAIS). Until now, most climate-ice sheet modeling studies have failed to simulate substantial Pliocene retreat of the East Antarctic ice margin, because at 400 ppmv CO2, atmospheric conditions on the steep flanks of the ice sheet remain relatively cold, even during the warmest austral summer orbits. Here, we use a hybrid ice sheet-shelf model coupled to a high-resolution regional climate model, to test the potential for both West and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat during the warm Pliocene and in the long-term future. In these simulations we apply new treatments of ice shelf calving and basal sliding (assuming a relationship between basal sliding coefficients and the rate of liquid water supply at the bed), and improved sub-glacial bathymetry using BEDMAP2. A range of plausible ocean warming scenarios (based on offline ocean modeling) are combined with the high-resolution regional climate model simulations to simulate the ice sheet's response to both Pliocene and long term future scenarios with elevated CO2. Unlike our previous studies, the combination of improved bathymetric detail and more physically based model treatments of calving and basal sliding result in substantial grounding line retreat into the Wilkes sub-glacial basin of East Antarctica during the Pliocene, adding several meters of equivalent sea level in addition to the contribution from a retreated WAIS. In long-term (10^3-yr

  18. Current and future darkening of the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tedesco, Marco; Stroeve, Julienne; Fettweis, Xavier; Warren, Stephen; Doherty, Sarah; Noble, Erik; Alexander, Patrick

    2015-04-01

    Surface melting over the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) promotes snow grains growth, reducing albedo and further enhancing melting through the increased amount of absorbed solar radiation. Using a combination of remote sensing data and outputs of a regional climate model, we show that albedo over the GIS decreased significantly from 1996 to 2012. Further, we show that most of this darkening can be accounted for by enhanced snow grain growth and the expansion of areas where bare ice is exposed, both of which are driven by increases in snow warming. An analysis of the impact of light-absorbing impurities on albedo trends detected from spaceborne measurements was inconclusive because the estimated impact for concentrations of impurities of order of magnitude found in Greenland is within the albedo uncertainty retrievable from space-based instruments. However, neither models nor observations show an increase in pollutants (black carbon and associated organics) in the atmosphere over the GIS in this time period. Additionally, we could not identify trends in the number of fires over North America and Russia, assumed to be among the sources of soot for Greenland. We did find that a 'dark band' of tilted ice plays a crucial role in decreasing albedo along the west margin, and there is some indication that dust deposition to the GIS may be decreasing albedo in this region but this is not conclusive. In addition to looking at the direct impact of impurities on albedo, we estimated the impact of impurities on albedo via their influence on grain growth and found it is relatively small (~ 1- 2 %), though more sophisticated analysis needs to be carried out. Projections obtained under different warming scenarios consistently point to a continued darkening, with anomalies in albedo driven solely by the effects of climate warming of as much as -0.12 along the west margin of the GIS by the end of this century (with respect to year 2000). Projected darkening is likely underestimated

  19. Sea-level feedback lowers projections of future Antarctic Ice-Sheet mass loss.

    PubMed

    Gomez, Natalya; Pollard, David; Holland, David

    2015-11-10

    The stability of marine sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) in a warming climate has been identified as the largest source of uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise. Sea-level fall near the grounding line of a retreating marine ice sheet has a stabilizing influence on the ice sheets, and previous studies have established the importance of this feedback on ice age AIS evolution. Here we use a coupled ice sheet-sea-level model to investigate the impact of the feedback mechanism on future AIS retreat over centennial and millennial timescales for a range of emission scenarios. We show that the combination of bedrock uplift and sea-surface drop associated with ice-sheet retreat significantly reduces AIS mass loss relative to a simulation without these effects included. Sensitivity analyses show that the stabilization tends to be greatest for lower emission scenarios and Earth models characterized by a thin elastic lithosphere and low-viscosity upper mantle, as is the case for West Antarctica.

  20. Global ice sheet modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Hughes, T.J.; Fastook, J.L.

    1994-05-01

    The University of Maine conducted this study for Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) as part of a global climate modeling task for site characterization of the potential nuclear waste respository site at Yucca Mountain, NV. The purpose of the study was to develop a global ice sheet dynamics model that will forecast the three-dimensional configuration of global ice sheets for specific climate change scenarios. The objective of the third (final) year of the work was to produce ice sheet data for glaciation scenarios covering the next 100,000 years. This was accomplished using both the map-plane and flowband solutions of our time-dependent, finite-element gridpoint model. The theory and equations used to develop the ice sheet models are presented. Three future scenarios were simulated by the model and results are discussed.

  1. Sea-level feedback lowers projections of future Antarctic Ice-Sheet mass loss

    PubMed Central

    Gomez, Natalya; Pollard, David; Holland, David

    2015-01-01

    The stability of marine sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) in a warming climate has been identified as the largest source of uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise. Sea-level fall near the grounding line of a retreating marine ice sheet has a stabilizing influence on the ice sheets, and previous studies have established the importance of this feedback on ice age AIS evolution. Here we use a coupled ice sheet–sea-level model to investigate the impact of the feedback mechanism on future AIS retreat over centennial and millennial timescales for a range of emission scenarios. We show that the combination of bedrock uplift and sea-surface drop associated with ice-sheet retreat significantly reduces AIS mass loss relative to a simulation without these effects included. Sensitivity analyses show that the stabilization tends to be greatest for lower emission scenarios and Earth models characterized by a thin elastic lithosphere and low-viscosity upper mantle, as is the case for West Antarctica. PMID:26554381

  2. AMOCMIP: Probabilistic projections of future AMOC evolution driven by global warming and Greenland Ice Sheet melt.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakker, P.; Ohgaito, R.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Swingedouw, D.; Saenko, O.; Marsland, S. J.; Bi, D.; Schmittner, A.; Hu, A.; Mernild, S. H.; Yin, J.; Beadling, R. L.; Lenaerts, J.; van den Broeke, M.

    2015-12-01

    We present results of a community effort to use state-of-the-science climate models to simulate the impact of the partial melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) under future global warming: the AMOC Model Intercomparison Project (AMOCMIP). The evolution of the AMOC is one of the key uncertainties of future climate projections. Climate models taking part in CMIP5 showed that over the 21st century the AMOC might reduce by 20-30% under the intermediate Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 4.5 scenario and by 36-44% under the high-end RCP8.5 scenario relative to preindustrial values. However, these projections didn't include the predicted partial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Using a combination of observations and regional climate model experiments, realistic scenarios of the future mass loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet are constructed for different RCPs that span the next three centuries. These melt water scenarios have been included in various climate models to investigate its role in the simulated future evolution of the climate in general and more specifically the AMOC. To rigorously quantify the uncertainties of the AMOC projections and the probability of a future AMOC collapse we have used an AMOC emulator. This physics-based approach allows us to include uncertainties in the AMOC's sensitivity to temperature and salinity changes, as well as uncertainties of future global warming, polar amplification and melt rates of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Based on the first AMOCMIP simulations of future AMOC evolution forced by changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations and Greenland Ice Sheet melt, we will present probabilistic projections of future AMOC changes and the probability of an AMOC collapse.

  3. On the Reconstruction of Palaeo-Ice Sheets: Recent Advances and Future Challenges

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stokes, Chris R.; Tarasov, Lev; Blomdin, Robin; Cronin, Thomas M.; Fisher, Timothy G.; Gyllencreutz, Richard; Hattestrand, Clas; Heyman, Jacob; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.; Hughes, Anna L. C.; Peteet, Dorothy M.

    2015-01-01

    Reconstructing the growth and decay of palaeo-ice sheets is critical to understanding mechanisms of global climate change and associated sea-level fluctuations in the past, present and future. The significance of palaeo-ice sheets is further underlined by the broad range of disciplines concerned with reconstructing their behaviour, many of which have undergone a rapid expansion since the 1980s. In particular, there has been a major increase in the size and qualitative diversity of empirical data used to reconstruct and date ice sheets, and major improvements in our ability to simulate their dynamics in numerical ice sheet models. These developments have made it increasingly necessary to forge interdisciplinary links between sub-disciplines and to link numerical modelling with observations and dating of proxy records. The aim of this paper is to evaluate recent developments in the methods used to reconstruct ice sheets and outline some key challenges that remain, with an emphasis on how future work might integrate terrestrial and marine evidence together with numerical modelling. Our focus is on pan-ice sheet reconstructions of the last deglaciation, but regional case studies are used to illustrate methodological achievements, challenges and opportunities. Whilst various disciplines have made important progress in our understanding of ice-sheet dynamics, it is clear that data-model integration remains under-used, and that uncertainties remain poorly quantified in both empirically-based and numerical ice-sheet reconstructions. The representation of past climate will continue to be the largest source of uncertainty for numerical modelling. As such, palaeo-observations are critical to constrain and validate modelling. State-of-the-art numerical models will continue to improve both in model resolution and in the breadth of inclusion of relevant processes, thereby enabling more accurate and more direct comparison with the increasing range of palaeo-observations. Thus

  4. On the reconstruction of palaeo-ice sheets: Recent advances and future challenges

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stokes, Chris R.; Tarasov, Lev; Blomdin, Robin; Cronin, Thomas M.; Fisher, Timothy G.; Gyllencreutz, Richard; Hattestrand, Clas; Heyman, Jakob; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.; Hughes, Anna L. C.; Jakobsson, Martin; Kirchner, Nina; Livingstone, Stephen J.; Margold, Martin; Murton, Julian B.; Noormets, Riko; Peltier, W. Richard; Peteet, Dorothy M.; Piper, David J. W.; Preusser, Frank; Renssen, Hans; Roberts, David H.; Roche, Didier M.; Saint-Ange, Francky; Stroeven, Arjen P.; Teller, James T.

    2015-01-01

    Reconstructing the growth and decay of palaeo-ice sheets is critical to understanding mechanisms of global climate change and associated sea-level fluctuations in the past, present and future. The significance of palaeo-ice sheets is further underlined by the broad range of disciplines concerned with reconstructing their behaviour, many of which have undergone a rapid expansion since the 1980s. In particular, there has been a major increase in the size and qualitative diversity of empirical data used to reconstruct and date ice sheets, and major improvements in our ability to simulate their dynamics in numerical ice sheet models. These developments have made it increasingly necessary to forge interdisciplinary links between sub-disciplines and to link numerical modelling with observations and dating of proxy records. The aim of this paper is to evaluate recent developments in the methods used to reconstruct ice sheets and outline some key challenges that remain, with an emphasis on how future work might integrate terrestrial and marine evidence together with numerical modelling. Our focus is on pan-ice sheet reconstructions of the last deglaciation, but regional case studies are used to illustrate methodological achievements, challenges and opportunities. Whilst various disciplines have made important progress in our understanding of ice-sheet dynamics, it is clear that data-model integration remains under-used, and that uncertainties remain poorly quantified in both empirically-based and numerical ice-sheet reconstructions. The representation of past climate will continue to be the largest source of uncertainty for numerical modelling. As such, palaeo-observations are critical to constrain and validate modelling. State-of-the-art numerical models will continue to improve both in model resolution and in the breadth of inclusion of relevant processes, thereby enabling more accurate and more direct comparison with the increasing range of palaeo-observations. Thus

  5. On the Reconstruction of Palaeo-Ice Sheets: Recent Advances and Future Challenges

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stokes, Chris R.; Tarasov, Lev; Blomdin, Robin; Cronin, Thomas M.; Fisher, Timothy G.; Gyllencreutz, Richard; Hattestrand, Clas; Heyman, Jacob; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.; Hughes, Anna L. C.; hide

    2015-01-01

    Reconstructing the growth and decay of palaeo-ice sheets is critical to understanding mechanisms of global climate change and associated sea-level fluctuations in the past, present and future. The significance of palaeo-ice sheets is further underlined by the broad range of disciplines concerned with reconstructing their behaviour, many of which have undergone a rapid expansion since the 1980s. In particular, there has been a major increase in the size and qualitative diversity of empirical data used to reconstruct and date ice sheets, and major improvements in our ability to simulate their dynamics in numerical ice sheet models. These developments have made it increasingly necessary to forge interdisciplinary links between sub-disciplines and to link numerical modelling with observations and dating of proxy records. The aim of this paper is to evaluate recent developments in the methods used to reconstruct ice sheets and outline some key challenges that remain, with an emphasis on how future work might integrate terrestrial and marine evidence together with numerical modelling. Our focus is on pan-ice sheet reconstructions of the last deglaciation, but regional case studies are used to illustrate methodological achievements, challenges and opportunities. Whilst various disciplines have made important progress in our understanding of ice-sheet dynamics, it is clear that data-model integration remains under-used, and that uncertainties remain poorly quantified in both empirically-based and numerical ice-sheet reconstructions. The representation of past climate will continue to be the largest source of uncertainty for numerical modelling. As such, palaeo-observations are critical to constrain and validate modelling. State-of-the-art numerical models will continue to improve both in model resolution and in the breadth of inclusion of relevant processes, thereby enabling more accurate and more direct comparison with the increasing range of palaeo-observations. Thus

  6. Predicting uncertainty in future marine ice sheet volume using Bayesian statistical methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    The marine ice instability can trigger rapid retreat of marine ice streams. Recent observations suggest that marine ice systems in West Antarctica have begun retreating. However, unknown ice dynamics, computationally intensive mathematical models, and uncertain parameters in these models make predicting retreat rate and ice volume difficult. In this work, we fuse current observational data with ice stream/shelf models to develop probabilistic predictions of future grounded ice sheet volume. Given observational data (e.g., thickness, surface elevation, and velocity) and a forward model that relates uncertain parameters (e.g., basal friction and basal topography) to these observations, we use a Bayesian framework to define a posterior distribution over the parameters. A stochastic predictive model then propagates uncertainties in these parameters to uncertainty in a particular quantity of interest (QoI)---here, the volume of grounded ice at a specified future time. While the Bayesian approach can in principle characterize the posterior predictive distribution of the QoI, the computational cost of both the forward and predictive models makes this effort prohibitively expensive. To tackle this challenge, we introduce a new Markov chain Monte Carlo method that constructs convergent approximations of the QoI target density in an online fashion, yielding accurate characterizations of future ice sheet volume at significantly reduced computational cost.Our second goal is to attribute uncertainty in these Bayesian predictions to uncertainties in particular parameters. Doing so can help target data collection, for the purpose of constraining the parameters that contribute most strongly to uncertainty in the future volume of grounded ice. For instance, smaller uncertainties in parameters to which the QoI is highly sensitive may account for more variability in the prediction than larger uncertainties in parameters to which the QoI is less sensitive. We use global sensitivity

  7. Will ice flow in land-terminating regions of the Greenland ice sheet accelerate under future climate warming?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doyle, S. H.; Hubbard, A.

    2015-12-01

    Recent observations and modelling studies investigating the dynamic response of land-terminating regions of the Greenland ice sheet to a warmer climate remain at best unreconciled and at worst equivocal and contradictory. Some studies suggest that ice flow will be regulated over annual time scales by the development of efficient subglacial drainage. Others suggest that such self-regulation processes may not be effective at higher elevations and that the recent and projected expansion of supraglacial lakes further into the ice sheet interior has lead to increased ice flow at high elevations. On the other hand, the observation that rapid in situ supraglacial lake drainage events may be triggered by precursory basal motion have led to the argument that, by inference, such lake drainage in the interior may be impossible, or at least hindered, by reduced strain rates and lack of surface crevasses in these regions. The response of the Greenland ice sheet to a warmer, wetter climate, in which late summer and autumnal cyclonic weather events drive widespread melt, rainfall and transient accelerations may also need to be accounted for in assessments of future Greenland ice mass loss if predicted changes in Greenland's climate are realised. This talk will critically assess recent insights gained into this topic, attempt to resolve some of them, and suggest directions for future research.

  8. Future ice ages and the challenges related to final disposal of nuclear waste: The Greenland Ice Sheet Hydrology Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehtinen, A.; Claesson-Liljedahl, L.; Näslund, J.-O.; Ruskeeniemi, T.

    2009-04-01

    ) provides a good analogue for this purpose due to similarities in geology (in the selected study area), and the climate conditions and ice sheet size in Kangerlussuaq resemble the expected conditions in Fennoscandia during future glaciations. In 2005 and 2008 reconnaissance field trips were made to Kangerlussuaq, which confirmed the suitability of the area for the planned studies. According to the present Work Programme the investigations will be carried out in 2009-2012. The project is divided into four subprojects (SPA, SPB, SPC and SPD) addressing specific and different topics at or in relation to the ice margin: SPA (ice sheet hydrology and glacial groundwater formation); SPB (subglacial ice sheet hydrology), SPC (hydrogeochemistry and hydrogeology) and SPD (periglacial environment: biosphere and permafrost). The main objectives of SPA and SPB are to gain a better process understanding of supra- and subglacial hydrology. Qualitative and quantitative knowledge of the mechanisms, rates and distribution of the melt water recharge through the ice down to the bed, location and extension of warm-based areas and hydraulic pressure conditions at the base are the key issues to be studied. This will be made by meteorological observations, GPS measurements, radar surveys, drilling through the ice sheet and by ice sheet modelling. SPC will further study the fate of melt water by extending the investigations into the bedrock. It is assumed that the high hydraulic pressures at the ice sheet bed force water into the fracture network prevailing in the bedrock. However, it is not known how the fracture network behaves under loading, what is the proportion of recharging water compared to the drainage through the bed sediments, what is the intrusion depth, how long the meltwater can sustain its oxic nature and what chemical composition the recharging water has when and if it reaches repository depth (400-700 m). SPC seeks to answer these questions by drilling and instrumenting boreholes

  9. An assessment of the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to future sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geyer, M.; Melia, D. Salas y.

    2012-04-01

    We assess the order of magnitude of future sea level rise due to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. To this end, we forced GRISLI ice sheet model (LGGE, France) with output from climate simulations run with CNRM-CM5 in the framework of CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5). GRISLI is a 3D thermo-mechanically coupled ice sheet model which mixes shallow ice approximation and shallow shelf approximation. The horizontal resolution is 15km. We use surface mass balance modeled by CNRM-CM5 as a top boundary conditions. CNRM-CM5 is a global coupled climate model developed by CNRM/CERFACS (France). This new global coupled climate model is based on the ocean-atmosphere core formed by the most up-to-date versions of NEMO and ARPEGE-Climat. Surface-atmosphere exchanges, sea ice and river routing are respectively represented by SURFEX v5, Gelato v5 and TRIP models. The atmospheric component of CNRM-CM5 has 31 vertical levels and a horizontal resolution of 1.4°, and the ocean has 42 levels and a horizontal resolution of 1°. GRISLI was forced with the output of a preindustrial simulation run with CNRM-CM5 in order to generate an initial state for the ice sheet that is in near-equilibrium with the preindustrial climate. Then, GRISLI was forced with CNRM-CM5 data from a 1850-2005 historical experiment. From 2006, several scenario experiments run with CNRM-CM5 were run: RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 over 2006-2300. We estimate the additional sea level rise over the whole 21st century. It should be noted that for the RCP8.5 scenario the melting rate of Greenland accelerates very rapidly after the 21st century, which results in almost total melting of Greenland ice sheet before year 2800. This acceleration phenomenon is probably amplified by topographic changes induced by the shrinking of the ice sheet.

  10. Controlling Factors on the Future Distribution of Supraglacial-lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Igneczi, A.; Sole, A. J.; Livingstone, S. J.; Leeson, A.; Fettweis, X.; Selmes, N.; Gourmelen, N.; Briggs, K.

    2016-12-01

    Supraglacial-lakes (SGL) are considered a key element of the hydrological system of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). Their presence reduces the surface albedo and facilitates hydrological connectivity between the supraglacial and subglacial drainage systems through hydrofracture, which affects ice flow speed, warms the ice and influences the magnitude and timing of freshwater delivery to the oceans. SGLs are widespread on the GrIS and expected to spread inland during the 21st century due to atmospheric warming. However, less is known about their precise future distribution and volume, while underlying controls are poorly constrained. Here, we present an ice sheet-wide survey of potential SGL locations, derived from digital elevation models. This was used in combination with SGL volume estimations derived from MODIS imagery and Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR) surface mass balance outputs to estimate and analyse the distribution of SGLs during the 21st century. The transfer of bedrock undulations to the ice surface, which is assumed to control the distribution of surface depressions and thus SGLs, was tested by comparing the wavelength spectra of bedrock and ice surface undulations with ice thickness and the basal slip ratio. Our results demonstrate: (1) that the distribution of ice surface depressions is controlled by basal topography and ice dynamics; (2) the increase in SGL volume during the 21st century is predicted to be significant and spatially heterogeneous; (3) the largest increase is expected in the north-eastern sector of the GrIS whereas in west Greenland, where the most SGLs are currently observed, SGL expansion will be relatively modest.

  11. Large-Ensemble modeling of last deglacial and future variations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert; Chang, Won; Applegate, Patrick; Haran, Murali

    2015-04-01

    Recent observations of thinning and retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers identify the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) sector of West Antarctica as particularly vulnerable to future climate change. To date, most future modeling of these glaciers has been calibrated using recent and modern observations. As an alternate approach, we apply a hybrid 3-D ice sheet-shelf model to the last deglacial retreat of Antarctica, making use of geologic data from ~20,000 years BP to present, focusing on the ASE but including other sectors of Antarctica. Following several recent ice-sheet studies, we use Large-Ensemble statistical techniques, performing sets of ~500 to 1000 runs with varying model parameters. The model is run for the last 40 kyrs on 10 to 20-km grids, both on continental domains and also on nested domains over West Antarctica. Various types of objective scores for each run are calculated using reconstructed past grounding lines, relative sea level records, measured uplift rates, and cosmogenic elevation-age data. Runs are extended into the future few millennia using RCP scenarios. The goal is to produce calibrated probabilistic ranges of model parameter values and quantified envelopes of future ice retreat. Preliminary results are presented for Large Ensembles with (i) Latin HyperCube sampling in high-dimensional parameter space, using statistical emulators and Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques, and (ii) dense "factorial" sampling with a smaller number of parameters. Different ways of combining the types of scores listed above are explored. One robust conclusion is that for the warmer future RCP scenarios, most reasonable parameter combinations produce retreat deep into the West Antarctic interior. Recently proposed mechanisms of hydrofracturing and ice-cliff failure accelerate future West Antarctic retreat, and later produce retreat into East Antarctic basins.

  12. Modeling Greenland ice sheet present-day and near-future runoff contribution.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peano, Daniele; Colleoni, Florence; Masina, Simona

    2014-05-01

    The last IPCC report [AR5, IPCC] has shown an increasing contribution from Greenland melting to global sea-level over the last decade, increasing from 0.09 mm/year (period 1992-2001) to 0.59 mm/year (period 2002-2011). Given its strategic location, i.e. close to the main North Atlantic ocean convection sites, it is therefore of importance to better assess ice sheet melting and its impact on regional ocean processes. So far, runoff estimate from ice sheet has been poorly constrained (e.g. [Hanna et al., 2005], [Hanna et al., 2008]) and most of the time the few estimates comes from regional atmospheric models or general circulation models (e.g. [Edwards et al., 2013], [Fettweis et al., 2013]). Here, we present the results from the implementation of a routing scheme into the thermo-mechanical ice sheet-ice shelves model GRISLI [Ritz et al, 2001], applied to the Greenland ice sheet mass evolution over the 20th and 21st centuries. The routing scheme is based on the "multiple flow direction" developed by [Quinn et al., 1991]. We further improved this scheme by considering topographic depressions as possible "lakes" to be filled by meltwater. In this way, when a depression is filled, only the extra water is routed towards the Greenland coasts. This allow us to obtain an estimate of the total amount of freshwater reaching the ocean at each time step of the model integration, as well as a time-varying spatial distribution of the runoff along the coasts of Greenland. This routing scheme is applied in routing both surface and basal meltwater. Surface meltwater is computed by means of a PDD method [Fausto et al., 2007] on which only a fraction is considered for routing while the basal melting rate is part of the heat balance at the ice-bed interface. Runoff is simulated on a 5km x 5km horizontal grid and validation is performed over the 20th century using mean annual total precipitation and air temperature at 2 meters from Era-Interim reanalysis [Dee et al., 2011]. Near future

  13. Current state and future perspectives on coupled ice-sheet - sea-level modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, Bas; Stocchi, Paolo; Whitehouse, Pippa L.; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.

    2017-08-01

    The interaction between ice-sheet growth and retreat and sea-level change has been an established field of research for many years. However, recent advances in numerical modelling have shed new light on the precise interaction of marine ice sheets with the change in near-field sea level, and the related stability of the grounding line position. Studies using fully coupled ice-sheet - sea-level models have shown that accounting for gravitationally self-consistent sea-level change will act to slow down the retreat and advance of marine ice-sheet grounding lines. Moreover, by simultaneously solving the 'sea-level equation' and modelling ice-sheet flow, coupled models provide a global field of relative sea-level change that is consistent with dynamic changes in ice-sheet extent. In this paper we present an overview of recent advances, possible caveats, methodologies and challenges involved in coupled ice-sheet - sea-level modelling. We conclude by presenting a first-order comparison between a suite of relative sea-level data and output from a coupled ice-sheet - sea-level model.

  14. The Svalbard-Barents Sea ice-sheet - Historical, current and future perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingólfsson, Ólafur; Landvik, Jon Y.

    2013-03-01

    The history of research on the Late Quaternary Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet mirrors the developments of ideas and the shifts of paradigms in glacial theory over the past 150 years. Since the onset of scientific research there in the early 19th Century, Svalbard has been a natural laboratory where ideas and concepts have been tested, and played an important (but rarely acknowledged) role in the break-through of the Ice Age theory in the 1870's. The history of how the scientific perception of the Svalbard-Barents sea ice sheet developed in the mid-20th Century also tells a story of how a combination of fairly scattered and often contradictory observational data, and through both deductive and inductive reasoning, could outline a major ice sheet that had left but few tangible fingerprints. Since the 1980's, with increased terrestrial stratigraphical data, ever more marine geological evidence and better chronological control of glacial events, our perception of the Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet has changed. The first reconstructions depicted it as a static, concentric, single-domed ice sheet, with ice flowing from an ice divide over the central northern Barents Sea that expanded and declined in response to large-scale, Late Quaternary climate fluctuations, and which was more or less in tune with other major Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. We now increasingly perceive it as a very dynamic, multidomed ice sheet, controlled by climate fluctuations, relative sea-level change, as well as subglacial topography, substrate properties and basal temperature. In this respect, the Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet will increasingly hold the key for understanding the dynamics and processes of how marine-based ice sheets build-up and decay.

  15. Modeling of past and future variations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet with Large Ensembles.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollard, D.; Deconto, R. M.; Chang, W.; Applegate, P. J.; Haran, M.

    2015-12-01

    Recent observations of thinning and retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers identify the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) sector of West Antarctica as particularly vulnerable to future climate change. To date, most future modelingof these glaciers has been calibrated using recent and modern observations. As an alternate approach, we apply a hybrid 3-D ice sheet-shelf model to the last deglacial retreat of Antarctica, making use of geologic data from ~20,000 years BP to present, focusing on the ASE but including other sectors of Antarctica. Following several recent ice-sheet studies, we use Large Ensemble statistical methods, performing sets of ~600 runs over the last 30,000 years with systematically varying model parameters. Objective scores for each run are calculated using modern data and past reconstructed grounding lines, relative sea level records, cosmogenic elevation-age data and uplift rates.Two types of statistical methods are used to analyze the Large-Ensembleresults: simple averaging weighted by the aggregate score, and more advancedBayesian emulation and calibration methods that rigorously account for some of the uncertainties in the model and observations. Results for best-fit parameter ranges and envelopes of equivalent sea-level rise with the simple averaging method agree quite well with the more advanced techniques, but only for a Large Ensemble with dense (Full Factorial) parameter sampling. Runs are extended into the future using RCP scenarios, with drastic retreat mechanisms of hydrofracturing and structural ice-cliff failure. In most runs this produces grounding-line retreat into the West Antarctic interior, and into East Antarctic basins for RCP8.5, and the Large Ensemble analysis provides sea-level-rise envelopes with well defined parametric uncertainty bounds.

  16. Subglacial floods beneath ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Evatt, G W; Fowler, A C; Clark, C D; Hulton, N R J

    2006-07-15

    Subglacial floods (jökulhlaups) are well documented as occurring beneath present day glaciers and ice caps. In addition, it is known that massive floods have occurred from ice-dammed lakes proximal to the Laurentide ice sheet during the last ice age, and it has been suggested that at least one such flood below the waning ice sheet was responsible for a dramatic cooling event some 8000 years ago. We propose that drainage of lakes from beneath ice sheets will generally occur in a time-periodic fashion, and that such floods can be of severe magnitude. Such hydraulic eruptions are likely to have caused severe climatic disturbances in the past, and may well do so in the future.

  17. Present-day and future Antarctic ice sheet climate and surface mass balance in the Community Earth System Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Vizcaino, Miren; Fyke, Jeremy; van Kampenhout, Leo; van den Broeke, Michiel R.

    2016-09-01

    We present climate and surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) as simulated by the global, coupled ocean-atmosphere-land Community Earth System Model (CESM) with a horizontal resolution of {˜ }1° in the past, present and future (1850-2100). CESM correctly simulates present-day Antarctic sea ice extent, large-scale atmospheric circulation and near-surface climate, but fails to simulate the recent expansion of Antarctic sea ice. The present-day Antarctic ice sheet SMB equals 2280 ± 131 {Gt year^{-1}}, which concurs with existing independent estimates of AIS SMB. When forced by two CMIP5 climate change scenarios (high mitigation scenario RCP2.6 and high-emission scenario RCP8.5), CESM projects an increase of Antarctic ice sheet SMB of about 70 {Gt year^{-1}} per degree warming. This increase is driven by enhanced snowfall, which is partially counteracted by more surface melt and runoff along the ice sheet's edges. This intensifying hydrological cycle is predominantly driven by atmospheric warming, which increases (1) the moisture-carrying capacity of the atmosphere, (2) oceanic source region evaporation, and (3) summer AIS cloud liquid water content.

  18. Antarctic ice sheet response to combined surface and oceanic sub-ice shelf melt during past interglacials and in the future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeConto, R.; Pollard, D.; Kowalewski, D.

    2012-04-01

    New sediment core records from the Ross Embayment (ANDRILL; Naish et al., Nature, 2009) and time-continuous modeling of the Antarctic ice sheet-shelf system (Pollard and DeConto, Nature, 2009) imply dramatic, orbitally paced variability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) through the Plio-Pleistocene. Model-simulated episodes of WAIS retreat are common during the warm Pliocene, but they also occur during some interglacials in the colder Pleistocene. The relatively modest forcing of these simulated past retreats hints at the future vulnerability of the ice sheet. In our previous long-term simulations, the ice-sheet model was driven by parameterized climatologies (surface temperature, precipitation, sea level, and oceanic sub-ice shelf melt) scaled mainly to deep-sea benthic oxygen isotope records. In the model, WAIS was found to be highly sensitive to sub-ice-shelf melt rates, with modest increases (~2 m/yr) capable of triggering sudden grounding-line retreat and dynamic thinning in the Ross, Weddell and Amundsen Sea sectors- largely in response to reduced ice-shelf buttressing. Here we present new ice sheet-shelf simulations of specific past interglacials and future scenarios with elevated greenhouse gasses. The model is driven by atmospheric climatologies from a new high-resolution Regional Climate Model adapted to the South Polar region and modest increases in circum-Antarctic ocean temperatures. The model (accounting for past greenhouse gas and orbital forcing) shows that melt on ice-shelf surfaces played a contributing role in prior Pleistocene WAIS retreats, but increased oceanic sub ice-shelf melt was likely the dominant mechanism driving those past retreats. At levels of atmospheric CO2 exceeding 2x preindustrial levels (560 ppmv), surface melt on ice-shelf surfaces becomes increasingly important. As CO2 levels approach 4x preindustrial levels, surface melt on ice shelves and the low-elevation flanks of WAIS is sufficient to cause near complete WAIS

  19. Present-day and future Antarctic ice sheet climate and surface mass balance in the Community Earth System Model

    DOE PAGES

    Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Vizcaino, Miren; Fyke, Jeremy Garmeson; ...

    2016-02-01

    Here, we present climate and surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) as simulated by the global, coupled ocean–atmosphere–land Community Earth System Model (CESM) with a horizontal resolution of ~1° in the past, present and future (1850–2100). CESM correctly simulates present-day Antarctic sea ice extent, large-scale atmospheric circulation and near-surface climate, but fails to simulate the recent expansion of Antarctic sea ice. The present-day Antarctic ice sheet SMB equals 2280 ± 131Gtyear–1, which concurs with existing independent estimates of AIS SMB. When forced by two CMIP5 climate change scenarios (high mitigation scenario RCP2.6 and high-emission scenario RCP8.5),more » CESM projects an increase of Antarctic ice sheet SMB of about 70 Gtyear–1 per degree warming. This increase is driven by enhanced snowfall, which is partially counteracted by more surface melt and runoff along the ice sheet’s edges. This intensifying hydrological cycle is predominantly driven by atmospheric warming, which increases (1) the moisture-carrying capacity of the atmosphere, (2) oceanic source region evaporation, and (3) summer AIS cloud liquid water content.« less

  20. Present-day and future Antarctic ice sheet climate and surface mass balance in the Community Earth System Model

    SciTech Connect

    Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Vizcaino, Miren; Fyke, Jeremy Garmeson; van Kampenhout, Leo; van den Broeke, Michiel R.

    2016-02-01

    Here, we present climate and surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) as simulated by the global, coupled ocean–atmosphere–land Community Earth System Model (CESM) with a horizontal resolution of ~1° in the past, present and future (1850–2100). CESM correctly simulates present-day Antarctic sea ice extent, large-scale atmospheric circulation and near-surface climate, but fails to simulate the recent expansion of Antarctic sea ice. The present-day Antarctic ice sheet SMB equals 2280 ± 131Gtyear–1, which concurs with existing independent estimates of AIS SMB. When forced by two CMIP5 climate change scenarios (high mitigation scenario RCP2.6 and high-emission scenario RCP8.5), CESM projects an increase of Antarctic ice sheet SMB of about 70 Gtyear–1 per degree warming. This increase is driven by enhanced snowfall, which is partially counteracted by more surface melt and runoff along the ice sheet’s edges. This intensifying hydrological cycle is predominantly driven by atmospheric warming, which increases (1) the moisture-carrying capacity of the atmosphere, (2) oceanic source region evaporation, and (3) summer AIS cloud liquid water content.

  1. Ice sheets and nitrogen.

    PubMed

    Wolff, Eric W

    2013-07-05

    Snow and ice play their most important role in the nitrogen cycle as a barrier to land-atmosphere and ocean-atmosphere exchanges that would otherwise occur. The inventory of nitrogen compounds in the polar ice sheets is approximately 260 Tg N, dominated by nitrate in the much larger Antarctic ice sheet. Ice cores help to inform us about the natural variability of the nitrogen cycle at global and regional scale, and about the extent of disturbance in recent decades. Nitrous oxide concentrations have risen about 20 per cent in the last 200 years and are now almost certainly higher than at any time in the last 800 000 years. Nitrate concentrations recorded in Greenland ice rose by a factor of 2-3, particularly between the 1950s and 1980s, reflecting a major change in NOx emissions reaching the background atmosphere. Increases in ice cores drilled at lower latitudes can be used to validate or constrain regional emission inventories. Background ammonium concentrations in Greenland ice show no significant recent trend, although the record is very noisy, being dominated by spikes of input from biomass burning events. Neither nitrate nor ammonium shows significant recent trends in Antarctica, although their natural variations are of biogeochemical and atmospheric chemical interest. Finally, it has been found that photolysis of nitrate in the snowpack leads to significant re-emissions of NOx that can strongly impact the regional atmosphere in snow-covered areas.

  2. Ice sheets and nitrogen

    PubMed Central

    Wolff, Eric W.

    2013-01-01

    Snow and ice play their most important role in the nitrogen cycle as a barrier to land–atmosphere and ocean–atmosphere exchanges that would otherwise occur. The inventory of nitrogen compounds in the polar ice sheets is approximately 260 Tg N, dominated by nitrate in the much larger Antarctic ice sheet. Ice cores help to inform us about the natural variability of the nitrogen cycle at global and regional scale, and about the extent of disturbance in recent decades. Nitrous oxide concentrations have risen about 20 per cent in the last 200 years and are now almost certainly higher than at any time in the last 800 000 years. Nitrate concentrations recorded in Greenland ice rose by a factor of 2–3, particularly between the 1950s and 1980s, reflecting a major change in NOx emissions reaching the background atmosphere. Increases in ice cores drilled at lower latitudes can be used to validate or constrain regional emission inventories. Background ammonium concentrations in Greenland ice show no significant recent trend, although the record is very noisy, being dominated by spikes of input from biomass burning events. Neither nitrate nor ammonium shows significant recent trends in Antarctica, although their natural variations are of biogeochemical and atmospheric chemical interest. Finally, it has been found that photolysis of nitrate in the snowpack leads to significant re-emissions of NOx that can strongly impact the regional atmosphere in snow-covered areas. PMID:23713125

  3. Large-Ensemble modeling of past and future variations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet with a coupled ice-Earth-sea level model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert; Gomez, Natalya

    2016-04-01

    To date, most modeling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet's response to future warming has been calibrated using recent and modern observations. As an alternate approach, we apply a hybrid 3-D ice sheet-shelf model to the last deglacial retreat of Antarctica, making use of geologic data of the last ~20,000 years to test the model against the large-scale variations during this period. The ice model is coupled to a global Earth-sea level model to improve modeling of the bedrock response and to capture ocean-ice gravitational interactions. Following several recent ice-sheet studies, we use Large Ensemble (LE) statistical methods, performing sets of 625 runs from 30,000 years to present with systematically varying model parameters. Objective scores for each run are calculated using modern data and past reconstructed grounding lines, relative sea level records, cosmogenic elevation-age data and uplift rates. The LE results are analyzed to calibrate 4 particularly uncertain model parameters that concern marginal ice processes and interaction with the ocean. LE's are extended into the future with climates following RCP scenarios. An additional scoring criterion tests the model's ability to reproduce estimated sea-level high stands in the warm mid-Pliocene, for which drastic retreat mechanisms of hydrofracturing and ice-cliff failure are needed in the model. The LE analysis provides future sea-level-rise envelopes with well-defined parametric uncertainty bounds. Sensitivities of future LE results to Pliocene sea-level estimates, coupling to the Earth-sea level model, and vertical profiles of Earth properties, will be presented.

  4. The Physics of Ice Sheets

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bassis, J. N.

    2008-01-01

    The great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are vast deposits of frozen freshwater that contain enough to raise sea level by approximately 70 m if they were to completely melt. Because of the potentially catastrophic impact that ice sheets can have, it is important that we understand how ice sheets have responded to past climate changes and…

  5. The Physics of Ice Sheets

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bassis, J. N.

    2008-01-01

    The great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are vast deposits of frozen freshwater that contain enough to raise sea level by approximately 70 m if they were to completely melt. Because of the potentially catastrophic impact that ice sheets can have, it is important that we understand how ice sheets have responded to past climate changes and…

  6. Changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet

    SciTech Connect

    Alley, R.B. ); Whillans, I.M. )

    1991-11-15

    The portion of the West Antarctic ice sheet that flows into the Ross Sea is thinning in some places and thickening in others. These changes are not caused by any current climatic change, but by the combination of a delayed response to the end of the last global glacial cycle and an internal instability. The near-future impact of the ice sheet on global sea level is largely due to processes internal to the movement of the ice sheet, and not so much to the threat of a possible greenhouse warming. Thus the near-term future of the ice sheet is already determined. However, too little of the ice sheet has been surveyed to predict its overall future behavior.

  7. Polar predictability: exploring the influence of GCM and regional model uncertainty on future ice sheet climates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reusch, D. B.

    2015-12-01

    Evaluating uncertainty in GCMs and regional-scale forecast models is an essential step in the development of climate change predictions. Polar-region skill is particularly important due to the potential for changes affecting both local (ice sheet) and global (sea level) environments through more frequent/intense surface melting and changes in precipitation type/amount. High-resolution, regional-scale models also use GCMs as a source of boundary/initial conditions in future scenarios, thus inheriting a measure of GCM-derived externally-driven uncertainty. We examine inter- and intramodel uncertainty through statistics from decadal climatologies and analyses of variability based on self-organizing maps (SOMs), a nonlinear data analysis tool. We evaluate a 19-member CMIP5 subset and the 30-member CESM1.0-CAM5-BGC Large Ensemble (CESMLE) during polar melt seasons (boreal/austral summer) for recent (1981-2000) and future (2081-2100, RCP 8.5) decades. Regional-model uncertainty is examined with a subset of these GCMs driving Polar WRF simulations. Decadal climatologies relative to a reference (recent: the ERA-Interim reanalysis; future: a skillful modern GCM) identify model uncertainty in bulk, e.g., BNU-ESM is too warm, CMCC-CM too cold. While quite useful for model screening, diagnostic benefit is often indirect. SOMs extend our diagnostics by providing a concise, objective summary of model variability as a set of generalized patterns. Joint analysis of reference and test models summarizes the variability of multiple realizations of climate (all the models), benchmarks each model versus the reference (frequency analysis helps identify the patterns behind GCM bias), and places each GCM in a common context. Joint SOM analysis of CESMLE members shows how initial conditions contribute to differences in modeled climates, providing useful information about internal variability, such as contributions from each member to overall uncertainty using pattern frequencies. In the

  8. Assessing the impact of ocean temperature on the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to future sea-level rise with a heuristic statistical approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calov, R.; Ganopolski, A.; Robinson, A.; Beckmann, J.; Alexander, D.; Perrette, M.

    2015-12-01

    We present large ensembles of simulations of the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise under RCP2.6, 4.5 and 8.5 future scenarios over 300 years, including several extended simulations over millennia. To this end, we utilise the ice sheet model SICOPOLIS coupled with the regional climate system model of intermediate complexity REMBO. The loss of ice into fjords via outlet glaciers is resolved in a heuristic statistical approach. In this framework, we recently included into our model an ocean temperature parameterization to assess the impact of ice loss of the Greenland ice sheet. This work precedes our planned more comprehensive approach, which will resolve all important ice loss processes in a model of intermediate complexity of the Greenland glacial system. Our large ensembles of simulations under future scenarios serve to estimate the uncertainty of the impact of future ocean temperatures on the state of the Greenland ice sheet. A suite of initial configurations of the ice sheet is generated via paleo simulations over two glacial cycles by introducing present-day and Eemian constraints, such as a range in the mass balance partition, the shape of the ice sheet, the Eemian ice surface elevation change at an upstream position of the NEEM and further local constraints. The paleo simulations support the choice of the range of parameters of our ocean temperature parameterization. The large ensemble simulations together with the paleo constraints enable us to improve estimates onthe range of the possible impact of future changes in ocean temperature around Greenland on the ice loss of the Greenland ice sheet.

  9. The Elementary Marine Ice Sheet Model (EMISM)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, Frank

    2015-04-01

    behaviour is in line with recent model simulations of Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier systems. We perform a series of sensitivity experiments with EMISM and compare results to recent model intercomparisons of the Antarctic ice sheet (e.g., SeaRISE, Favier et al. (2013)). Future developments include the implementation of a variant of the coupled SSA/SIA to account for ice stream flow, upstream of grounding lines.

  10. Ice sheet margins and ice shelves

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, R. H.

    1984-01-01

    The effect of climate warming on the size of ice sheet margins in polar regions is considered. Particular attention is given to the possibility of a rapid response to warming on the order of tens to hundreds of years. It is found that the early response of the polar regions to climate warming would be an increase in the area of summer melt on the ice sheets and ice shelves. For sufficiently large warming (5-10C) the delayed effects would include the breakup of the ice shelves by an increase in ice drainage rates, particularly from the ice sheets. On the basis of published data for periodic changes in the thickness and melting rates of the marine ice sheets and fjord glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, it is shown that the rate of retreat (or advance) of an ice sheet is primarily determined by: bedrock topography; the basal conditions of the grounded ice sheet; and the ice shelf condition downstream of the grounding line. A program of satellite and ground measurements to monitor the state of ice sheet equilibrium is recommended.

  11. Ice sheet model dependency of the simulated Greenland Ice Sheet in the mid-Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koenig, S. J.; Dolan, A. M.; de Boer, B.; Stone, E. J.; Hill, D. J.; DeConto, R. M.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Lunt, D. J.; Pollard, D.; Quiquet, A.; Saito, F.; Savage, J.; van de Wal, R.

    2015-03-01

    The understanding of the nature and behavior of ice sheets in past warm periods is important for constraining the potential impacts of future climate change. The Pliocene warm period (between 3.264 and 3.025 Ma) saw global temperatures similar to those projected for future climates; nevertheless, Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained. We present results from the efforts to simulate mid-Pliocene Greenland Ice Sheets by means of the international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP). We compare the performance of existing numerical ice sheet models in simulating modern control and mid-Pliocene ice sheets with a suite of sensitivity experiments guided by available proxy records. We quantify equilibrated ice sheet volume on Greenland, identifying a potential range in sea level contributions from warm Pliocene scenarios. A series of statistical measures are performed to quantify the confidence of simulations with focus on inter-model and inter-scenario differences. We find that Pliocene Greenland Ice Sheets are less sensitive to differences in ice sheet model configurations and internal physical quantities than to changes in imposed climate forcing. We conclude that Pliocene ice was most likely to be limited to the highest elevations in eastern and southern Greenland as simulated with the highest confidence and by synthesizing available regional proxies; however, the extent of those ice caps needs to be further constrained by using a range of general circulation model (GCM) climate forcings.

  12. Simulations of the Greenland ice sheet 100 years into the future with the full Stokes model Elmer/Ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seddik, H.; Greve, R.; Zwinger, T.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.; Gagliardini, O.

    2011-12-01

    The full Stokes thermo-mechanically coupled model Elmer/Ice is applied to the Greenland ice sheet. Elmer/Ice employs the finite element method to solve the full Stokes equations, the temperature evolution equation and the evolution equation of the free surface. The general framework of this modeling effort is a contribution to the Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution (SeaRISE) assessment project, a community-organized effort to estimate the likely range of ice sheet contributions to sea level rise over the next few hundred years (http://tinyurl.com/srise-lanl, http://tinyurl.com/srise-umt). The present geometry (surface and basal topographies) is derived from data where the basal topography was created with the preservation of the troughs at the Jakobshavn Ice Stream, Helheim, Kangerdlussuaq and Petermann glaciers. A mesh of the computational domain is created using an initial footprint which contains elements of 5 km horizontal resolution and to limit the number elements on the footprint while maximizing the spatial resolution, an anisotropic mesh adaptation scheme is employed based on the Hessian matrix of the observed surface velocities. The adaptation is carried out with the tool YAMS and the final footprint is vertically extruded to form a 3D mesh of 320880 elements with 17 equidistant, terrain-following layers. The numerical solution of the Stokes and the heat transfer equations employs direct solvers with stabilization procedures. The boundary conditions are such that the temperature at the surface uses the present-day mean annual air temperature given by a parameterization or directly from the available data, the geothermal heat flux at the bedrock is given by data and the lateral sides are open boundaries. A non-linear Weertman law is used for the basal sliding. Results for the SeaRISE 2011 sensitivity experiments are presented so that six different experiments have been conducted, grouped in two sets. The Set C (three experiments) applies a change to

  13. Palaeoclimate science: Pulsating ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieli, Andreas

    2017-02-01

    During the last ice age, huge numbers of icebergs were episodically discharged from an ice sheet that covered North America. Numerical modelling suggests that these events resulted from a conceptually simple feedback cycle. See Letter p.332

  14. Future rates of sea-level rise from long-term coupled climate-ice sheet projections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goelzer, Heiko; Huybrechts, Philippe; Loutre, Marie-France; Fichefet, Thierry

    2015-04-01

    Global mean sea level rose at an average rate of ~3.1 mm yr-1 since the early 1990s and is projected to rise between 0.28 and 0.98 m until year 2100, strongly depending on the assumed anthropogenic forcing scenario (IPCC AR5). This global rise in sea level is a combination of contributions from ocean thermal expansion, glaciers and small ice caps, from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and changes in land water storage. Except for the latter, all components are expected to contribute to further sea-level rise well beyond the end of this century due to the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere. In the present study we present results from long-term future sea-level change experiments over 1000 years with the Earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM version 1.3 forced by four extended RCP scenarios. The model includes fully coupled three-dimensional thermomechanical models of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, a global glacier melt algorithm to account for the response of mountain glaciers and small ice caps, and a diagnostic for oceanic thermal expansion. A range of the model's sensitivity to greenhouse warming was sampled by systematic parameter variations leading to an ensemble of model versions that simulate the present-day climate consistent with observations, while producing contrasted results for the future period. We analyse sea-level rates of change for all components over the course of the third millennium for the entire ensemble of model versions and forcing scenarios.

  15. Impact of realistic future ice sheet discharge on the Atlantic ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van den Berk, Jelle

    2015-04-01

    Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, The Netherlands A high-end scenario of polar ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet is presented with separate projections for different mass-loss sites up to the year 2100. The resultant freshwater forcing is applied to a global climate model and the effects on sea-level rise are discussed. The simulations show strong sea level rise on the Antarctic continental shelves. To separate the effects of atmospheric warming and melt water we then ran four simulations. One without either forcing, one with both and two with one of each separately. Melt water leads to a slight additional depression of the Atlantic overturning circulation, but a strong decrease remains absent. The bulk of the strength reduction is due to higher atmospheric temperatures which inhibits deep water formation in the North Atlantic. The melt water freshens the upper layers of the ocean, but does not strongly impact buoyancy. The balance between North Atlantic Deep Water and Antarctic Bottom Water must then remain relatively unaffected. Only applying the melt water forcing to the Northern Hemisphere does not lead to a stronger effect. We conclude that the meltwater scenario only impacts the overturning circulation superficially because the deeper ocean is not affected. Transport through Bering Strait and across the zonal section at the latitude of Cape Agulhas is increased by increased atmospheric temperatures and adds some inertia to these transports. Reversing the atmospheric forcing bears this out when the transport then further increases. The freshwater, however, mitigates this inertia somewhat.

  16. ISSM: Ice Sheet System Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larour, Eric; Schiermeier, John E.; Seroussi, Helene; Morlinghem, Mathieu

    2013-01-01

    In order to have the capability to use satellite data from its own missions to inform future sea-level rise projections, JPL needed a full-fledged ice-sheet/iceshelf flow model, capable of modeling the mass balance of Antarctica and Greenland into the near future. ISSM was developed with such a goal in mind, as a massively parallelized, multi-purpose finite-element framework dedicated to ice-sheet modeling. ISSM features unstructured meshes (Tria in 2D, and Penta in 3D) along with corresponding finite elements for both types of meshes. Each finite element can carry out diagnostic, prognostic, transient, thermal 3D, surface, and bed slope simulations. Anisotropic meshing enables adaptation of meshes to a certain metric, and the 2D Shelfy-Stream, 3D Blatter/Pattyn, and 3D Full-Stokes formulations capture the bulk of the ice-flow physics. These elements can be coupled together, based on the Arlequin method, so that on a large scale model such as Antarctica, each type of finite element is used in the most efficient manner. For each finite element referenced above, ISSM implements an adjoint. This adjoint can be used to carry out model inversions of unknown model parameters, typically ice rheology and basal drag at the ice/bedrock interface, using a metric such as the observed InSAR surface velocity. This data assimilation capability is crucial to allow spinning up of ice flow models using available satellite data. ISSM relies on the PETSc library for its vectors, matrices, and solvers. This allows ISSM to run efficiently on any parallel platform, whether shared or distrib- ISSM: Ice Sheet System Model NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California uted. It can run on the largest clusters, and is fully scalable. This allows ISSM to tackle models the size of continents. ISSM is embedded into MATLAB and Python, both open scientific platforms. This improves its outreach within the science community. It is entirely written in C/C++, which gives it flexibility in its

  17. Enhanced basal lubrication and the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to future sea-level rise.

    PubMed

    Shannon, Sarah R; Payne, Antony J; Bartholomew, Ian D; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Edwards, Tamsin L; Fettweis, Xavier; Gagliardini, Olivier; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien; Goelzer, Heiko; Hoffman, Matthew J; Huybrechts, Philippe; Mair, Douglas W F; Nienow, Peter W; Perego, Mauro; Price, Stephen F; Smeets, C J P Paul; Sole, Andrew J; van de Wal, Roderik S W; Zwinger, Thomas

    2013-08-27

    We assess the effect of enhanced basal sliding on the flow and mass budget of the Greenland ice sheet, using a newly developed parameterization of the relation between meltwater runoff and ice flow. A wide range of observations suggest that water generated by melt at the surface of the ice sheet reaches its bed by both fracture and drainage through moulins. Once at the bed, this water is likely to affect lubrication, although current observations are insufficient to determine whether changes in subglacial hydraulics will limit the potential for the speedup of flow. An uncertainty analysis based on our best-fit parameterization admits both possibilities: continuously increasing or bounded lubrication. We apply the parameterization to four higher-order ice-sheet models in a series of experiments forced by changes in both lubrication and surface mass budget and determine the additional mass loss brought about by lubrication in comparison with experiments forced only by changes in surface mass balance. We use forcing from a regional climate model, itself forced by output from the European Centre Hamburg Model (ECHAM5) global climate model run under scenario A1B. Although changes in lubrication generate widespread effects on the flow and form of the ice sheet, they do not affect substantial net mass loss; increase in the ice sheet's contribution to sea-level rise from basal lubrication is projected by all models to be no more than 5% of the contribution from surface mass budget forcing alone.

  18. Exposure age and ice-sheet model constraints on Pliocene East Antarctic ice sheet dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Yamane, Masako; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Obrochta, Stephen; Saito, Fuyuki; Moriwaki, Kiichi; Matsuzaki, Hiroyuki

    2015-01-01

    The Late Pliocene epoch is a potential analogue for future climate in a warming world. Here we reconstruct Plio-Pleistocene East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) variability using cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages and model simulations to better understand ice sheet behaviour under such warm conditions. New and previously published exposure ages indicate interior-thickening during the Pliocene. An ice sheet model with mid-Pliocene boundary conditions also results in interior thickening and suggests that both the Wilkes Subglacial and Aurora Basins largely melted, offsetting increased ice volume. Considering contributions from West Antarctica and Greenland, this is consistent with the most recent IPCC AR5 estimate, which indicates that the Pliocene sea level likely did not exceed +20 m on Milankovitch timescales. The inception of colder climate since ∼3 Myr has increased the sea ice cover and inhibited active moisture transport to Antarctica, resulting in reduced ice sheet thickness, at least in coastal areas. PMID:25908601

  19. Exposure age and ice-sheet model constraints on Pliocene East Antarctic ice sheet dynamics.

    PubMed

    Yamane, Masako; Yokoyama, Yusuke; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Obrochta, Stephen; Saito, Fuyuki; Moriwaki, Kiichi; Matsuzaki, Hiroyuki

    2015-04-24

    The Late Pliocene epoch is a potential analogue for future climate in a warming world. Here we reconstruct Plio-Pleistocene East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) variability using cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages and model simulations to better understand ice sheet behaviour under such warm conditions. New and previously published exposure ages indicate interior-thickening during the Pliocene. An ice sheet model with mid-Pliocene boundary conditions also results in interior thickening and suggests that both the Wilkes Subglacial and Aurora Basins largely melted, offsetting increased ice volume. Considering contributions from West Antarctica and Greenland, this is consistent with the most recent IPCC AR5 estimate, which indicates that the Pliocene sea level likely did not exceed +20 m on Milankovitch timescales. The inception of colder climate since ∼3 Myr has increased the sea ice cover and inhibited active moisture transport to Antarctica, resulting in reduced ice sheet thickness, at least in coastal areas.

  20. LAKES BENEATH THE ICE SHEET: The Occurrence, Analysis, and Future Exploration of Lake Vostok and Other Antarctic Subglacial Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siegert, Martin J.

    2005-01-01

    Airborne geophysics has been used to identify more than 100 lakes beneath the ice sheets of Antarctica. The largest, Lake Vostok, is more than 250 km in length and 1 km deep. Subglacial lakes occur because the ice base is kept warm by geothermal heating, and generated meltwater collects in topographic hollows. For lake water to be in equilibrium with the ice sheet, its roof must slope ten times more than the ice sheet surface. This slope causes differential temperatures and melting/freezing rates across the lake ceiling, which excites water circulation. The exploration of subglacial lakes has two goals: to find and understand the life that may inhabit these unique environments and to measure the climate records that occur in sediments on lake floors. The technological developments required for in situ measurements mean, however, that direct studies of subglacial lakes may take several years to happen.

  1. Irregular oscillations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macayeal, Douglas R.

    1993-01-01

    Model simulations of the West Antarctic ice sheet suggest that sporadic, perhaps chaotic, collapse (complete mobilization) of the ice sheet occurred throughout the past one million years. The irregular behavior is due to the slow equilibration time of the distribution of basal till, which lubricates ice-sheet motion. This nonlinear response means that predictions of future collapse of the ice sheet in response to global warming must take into account its past history, and in particular, whether the present basal till distribution predisposes the ice sheet towards rapid change.

  2. Irregular oscillations of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macayeal, Douglas R.

    1993-01-01

    Model simulations of the West Antarctic ice sheet suggest that sporadic, perhaps chaotic, collapse (complete mobilization) of the ice sheet occurred throughout the past one million years. The irregular behavior is due to the slow equilibration time of the distribution of basal till, which lubricates ice-sheet motion. This nonlinear response means that predictions of future collapse of the ice sheet in response to global warming must take into account its past history, and in particular, whether the present basal till distribution predisposes the ice sheet towards rapid change.

  3. LGM ice sheets simulated with a complex fully coupled ice sheet - climate model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziemen, F.; Rodehacke, C.; Mikolajewicz, U.

    2012-04-01

    One major challenge in predicting future climate change is the validation of the numerical models. A particular good time period for testing ice sheet - climate interactions is the last glacial maximum (LGM). It combines large ice sheets with good proxy data cover. We use a coarse resolution complex climate model coupled with an ice sheet model to study the ice sheets and the climate of the last glacial maximum and validate our setup by comparing glacial as well as pre-industrial equilibrium experiments with reconstructions and the present state. Since the last glacial maximum climate is largely different from the pre-industrial climate, we can test our model under large perturbations that go beyond the linear range by running both setups. Our model comprises of the atmosphere-ocean-vegetation general circulation model ECHAM5/MPIOM/LPJ interactively coupled with the ice sheet model mPISM. mPISM is a modified version of the Parallel Ice Sheet Model from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. We run ECHAM5 in T31 resolution (~ 3.75°), and mPISM on a 20 km grid covering most of the northern hemisphere. We do not use flux correction or anomaly maps in our models. For the surface mass balance, we use a positive degree day scheme with lapse rate correction and height desertification effect. We show results from steady state experiments under last glacial maximum as well as pre-industrial boundary conditions. In both cases, we are able to maintain reasonable ice sheet distributions. In the pre-industrial setup, the Greenland ice sheet looks realistic, and the only major deviation is an ice sheet forming in the Rocky Mountains due to a cold bias in ECHAM5 in this region. The last glacial maximum ice sheets largely agree with the reconstructions except for an ice sheet that forms in eastern Siberia and extends to the Alaskan end of the Laurentide ice sheet. The ice sheets never reach a perfectly steady state because parts show repeated surges resembling Heinrich events. Most

  4. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Tricht, Kristof; Lhermitte, Stef; Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Gorodetskaya, Irina V.; L'Ecuyer, Tristan S.; Noël, Brice; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Turner, David D.; van Lipzig, Nicole P. M.

    2016-04-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2) W m-2. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the Greenland ice sheet responds to this energy through a new pathway by which clouds reduce meltwater refreezing as opposed to increasing surface melt directly, thereby accelerating bare-ice exposure and enhancing meltwater runoff. The high sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to both ice-only and liquid-bearing clouds highlights the need for accurate cloud representations in climate models, to better predict future contributions of the Greenland ice sheet to global sea level rise.

  5. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff

    PubMed Central

    Van Tricht, K.; Lhermitte, S.; Lenaerts, J. T. M.; Gorodetskaya, I. V.; L'Ecuyer, T. S.; Noël, B.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Turner, D. D.; van Lipzig, N. P. M.

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2) W m−2. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the Greenland ice sheet responds to this energy through a new pathway by which clouds reduce meltwater refreezing as opposed to increasing surface melt directly, thereby accelerating bare-ice exposure and enhancing meltwater runoff. The high sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to both ice-only and liquid-bearing clouds highlights the need for accurate cloud representations in climate models, to better predict future contributions of the Greenland ice sheet to global sea level rise. PMID:26756470

  6. Clouds enhance Greenland ice sheet meltwater runoff.

    PubMed

    Van Tricht, K; Lhermitte, S; Lenaerts, J T M; Gorodetskaya, I V; L'Ecuyer, T S; Noël, B; van den Broeke, M R; Turner, D D; van Lipzig, N P M

    2016-01-12

    The Greenland ice sheet has become one of the main contributors to global sea level rise, predominantly through increased meltwater runoff. The main drivers of Greenland ice sheet runoff, however, remain poorly understood. Here we show that clouds enhance meltwater runoff by about one-third relative to clear skies, using a unique combination of active satellite observations, climate model data and snow model simulations. This impact results from a cloud radiative effect of 29.5 (±5.2) W m(-2). Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, the Greenland ice sheet responds to this energy through a new pathway by which clouds reduce meltwater refreezing as opposed to increasing surface melt directly, thereby accelerating bare-ice exposure and enhancing meltwater runoff. The high sensitivity of the Greenland ice sheet to both ice-only and liquid-bearing clouds highlights the need for accurate cloud representations in climate models, to better predict future contributions of the Greenland ice sheet to global sea level rise.

  7. Cryosphere: Warming ocean erodes ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kusahara, Kazuya

    2016-01-01

    Antarctic ice sheets are a key player in sea-level rise in a warming climate. Now an ice-sheet modelling study clearly demonstrates that an Antarctic ice sheet/shelf system in the Atlantic Ocean will be regulated by the warming of the surrounding Southern Ocean, not by marine-ice-sheet instability.

  8. Paleoclimate perspectives on Antarctic ice sheet sensitivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naish, Timothy

    2015-04-01

    Near- and long-term future projections of global mean sea level rise (SLR) are hampered by a lack of understanding of the potential dynamic contribution of the polar ice sheets, and in particular the Antarctic ice sheets. With the completion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Assessment Report a major challenge continues to be placing an upper bound in sea-level projections for 2100 and beyond. The so-called "deterministic" approach which sums observed- and model-projected trends in the known contributions (e.g. ice sheet and glacier surface mass balance, ocean thermal expansion and ground water storage changes) implies a "likely" upper bound of +100cm by 2080-2100. The "semi-empirical" approach which scales past observed sea-level change to mean surface temperature, and uses this relationship to scale future temperature scenarios, predicts a significantly higher upper bound of up to ~2m by 2100. The discrepancy between the two approaches may in part reflect the poorly understood contribution of ice dynamics - that is the rate of flow of ice sheets into the ocean. An ensemble of Antarctic ice sheet models produces highly divergent results for future sea-level projections, primarily because of uncertainties around the mass changes in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet with some models showing increased precipitation driving a positive mass balance overall, even with loss of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Current best estimates suggest a 10-20cm dynamic ice sheet contribution by 2100 to global SLR. Of concern is that marine based ice sheets are highly sensitive to increases in ocean temperature at their margins and rapid disintegration may ensue if the ice sheets grounding lines retreat into deep sub-glacial basins. Recent studies show the highest rates of ice sheet thinning and retreat are occurring at locations around the WAIS where the surface ocean has warmed, and that some WAIS loss may now be irreversible. Geological records allow

  9. Enhanced basal lubrication and the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to future sea-level rise

    PubMed Central

    Shannon, Sarah R.; Payne, Antony J.; Bartholomew, Ian D.; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Edwards, Tamsin L.; Fettweis, Xavier; Gagliardini, Olivier; Gillet-Chaulet, Fabien; Goelzer, Heiko; Hoffman, Matthew J.; Huybrechts, Philippe; Mair, Douglas W. F.; Nienow, Peter W.; Perego, Mauro; Price, Stephen F.; Smeets, C. J. P. Paul; Sole, Andrew J.; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.; Zwinger, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    We assess the effect of enhanced basal sliding on the flow and mass budget of the Greenland ice sheet, using a newly developed parameterization of the relation between meltwater runoff and ice flow. A wide range of observations suggest that water generated by melt at the surface of the ice sheet reaches its bed by both fracture and drainage through moulins. Once at the bed, this water is likely to affect lubrication, although current observations are insufficient to determine whether changes in subglacial hydraulics will limit the potential for the speedup of flow. An uncertainty analysis based on our best-fit parameterization admits both possibilities: continuously increasing or bounded lubrication. We apply the parameterization to four higher-order ice-sheet models in a series of experiments forced by changes in both lubrication and surface mass budget and determine the additional mass loss brought about by lubrication in comparison with experiments forced only by changes in surface mass balance. We use forcing from a regional climate model, itself forced by output from the European Centre Hamburg Model (ECHAM5) global climate model run under scenario A1B. Although changes in lubrication generate widespread effects on the flow and form of the ice sheet, they do not affect substantial net mass loss; increase in the ice sheet’s contribution to sea-level rise from basal lubrication is projected by all models to be no more than 5% of the contribution from surface mass budget forcing alone. PMID:23940337

  10. Evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet: new understanding and challenges.

    PubMed

    Payne, Antony J; Hunt, Julian C R; Wingham, Duncan J

    2006-07-15

    This brief paper has two purposes. First, we gauge developments in the study of the Antarctic ice sheet over the last seven years by comparing the contents of this issue with the volume produced from an American Geophysical Union meeting, held in September 1998, on the West Antarctic ice sheet. We focus on the uptake of satellite-based observation; ice-ocean interactions; ice streams as foci of change within the ice sheet; and the time scales on which the ice sheet is thought to operate. Second, we attempt to anticipate the future challenges that the study of the Antarctic ice sheet will present. We highlight the role of the upcoming International Polar Year in facilitating a better coverage of in situ climatic observations over the continent; the pressing need to understand the causes and consequences of the contemporary changes observed in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica; and the need for improved physics in predictive models of the ice sheet.

  11. Ice flow of the Antarctica Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mouginot, J.; Scheuchl, B.; Rignot, E. J.

    2011-12-01

    Ice velocity is fundamental characteristic of the dynamics of ice sheets and is essential to know for calculating the mass budget of ice sheet and for controlling ice sheet numerical models with realistic boundary conditions. Until recently, data were mostly available on a discrete basis over small areas with variable precision. Here, we report on our results of processing ice velocity from the interferometric synthetic-aperture radar data acquired by ALOS PALSAR in 2006 to 2010 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), by ENVISAT ASAR in 2007 to 2009, by RADARSAT-2 in 2009 and 2011, by RADARSAT-1 in 1997 and 2000 and by ERS-1 & -2 in 1996 in the framework of the International Polar Year 2007-2009. The result is the most comprehensive and precise high-resolution digital map of ice motion ever produced on the Antarctic continent. While important surprises are found along the coastline, it is in the interior that this map is revealing the most interesting features. The data reveal widespread, patterned, enhanced flow with tributary glaciers reaching hundreds to thousands of kilometers inland, over the entire continent. We show that the ice motion along these flow features has a strong basal slip component. This has far reaching implications for the modeling of ice sheet flow and evolution. In addition, our multi-year coverage of the coastal sectors reveal the beginning of an acceleration on Thwaites glacier and a wave of accelerated flow propagating inland rapidly on Pine Island Glacier between 2006 and 2010. This work was conducted at the Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's MEaSUREs program.

  12. Isochronal ice sheet model: Simulate englacial tracer transport to reconstruct past climates and ice sheet volumes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Born, Andreas

    2015-04-01

    The full history of ice sheet and climate interactions is recorded in the vertical profiles of isotopic and other geochemical tracers in polar ice sheets. In addition, recent advances in radiostratigraphy uncover the englacial layering that contains information of past surface topographies and thus ice sheet volumes and sea level. Numerical simulations of these archives could afford great advances both in the interpretation of paleoclimatic tracers as well as to help improve ice sheet models themselves and future projections. However, fundamental mathematical shortcomings in existing ice sheet models subject tracers to spurious diffusion that renders such attempts unfeasible. Here, we propose a new vertical discretization for ice sheet models that eliminates numerical diffusion entirely. Vertical motion through the model mesh is avoided by mimicking the real-world ice flow as a thinning of underlying layers. Simulations of the last glacial cycle are presented that show good skill in reproducing the reconstructed profile of the oxygen isotopic ratio (δ18O) and the age scale (http://www.climate.unibe.ch/~born/ice_model.html).

  13. Ice-sheet and sea-level changes.

    PubMed

    Alley, Richard B; Clark, Peter U; Huybrechts, Philippe; Joughin, Ian

    2005-10-21

    Future sea-level rise is an important issue related to the continuing buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with the potential to raise sea level approximately 70 meters if completely melted, dominate uncertainties in projected sea-level change. Freshwater fluxes from these ice sheets also may affect oceanic circulation, contributing to climate change. Observational and modeling advances have reduced many uncertainties related to ice-sheet behavior, but recently detected, rapid ice-marginal changes contributing to sea-level rise may indicate greater ice-sheet sensitivity to warming than previously considered.

  14. Ice stream activity scaled to ice sheet volume during Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation.

    PubMed

    Stokes, C R; Margold, M; Clark, C D; Tarasov, L

    2016-02-18

    The contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea level has increased in recent decades, largely owing to the thinning and retreat of outlet glaciers and ice streams. This dynamic loss is a serious concern, with some modelling studies suggesting that the collapse of a major ice sheet could be imminent or potentially underway in West Antarctica, but others predicting a more limited response. A major problem is that observations used to initialize and calibrate models typically span only a few decades, and, at the ice-sheet scale, it is unclear how the entire drainage network of ice streams evolves over longer timescales. This represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty when predicting the contributions of ice sheets to sea-level rise. A key question is whether ice streams might increase and sustain rates of mass loss over centuries or millennia, beyond those expected for a given ocean-climate forcing. Here we reconstruct the activity of 117 ice streams that operated at various times during deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (from about 22,000 to 7,000 years ago) and show that as they activated and deactivated in different locations, their overall number decreased, they occupied a progressively smaller percentage of the ice sheet perimeter and their total discharge decreased. The underlying geology and topography clearly influenced ice stream activity, but--at the ice-sheet scale--their drainage network adjusted and was linked to changes in ice sheet volume. It is unclear whether these findings can be directly translated to modern ice sheets. However, contrary to the view that sees ice streams as unstable entities that can accelerate ice-sheet deglaciation, we conclude that ice streams exerted progressively less influence on ice sheet mass balance during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

  15. Ice stream activity scaled to ice sheet volume during Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stokes, C. R.; Margold, M.; Clark, C. D.; Tarasov, L.

    2016-02-01

    The contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea level has increased in recent decades, largely owing to the thinning and retreat of outlet glaciers and ice streams. This dynamic loss is a serious concern, with some modelling studies suggesting that the collapse of a major ice sheet could be imminent or potentially underway in West Antarctica, but others predicting a more limited response. A major problem is that observations used to initialize and calibrate models typically span only a few decades, and, at the ice-sheet scale, it is unclear how the entire drainage network of ice streams evolves over longer timescales. This represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty when predicting the contributions of ice sheets to sea-level rise. A key question is whether ice streams might increase and sustain rates of mass loss over centuries or millennia, beyond those expected for a given ocean-climate forcing. Here we reconstruct the activity of 117 ice streams that operated at various times during deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (from about 22,000 to 7,000 years ago) and show that as they activated and deactivated in different locations, their overall number decreased, they occupied a progressively smaller percentage of the ice sheet perimeter and their total discharge decreased. The underlying geology and topography clearly influenced ice stream activity, but—at the ice-sheet scale—their drainage network adjusted and was linked to changes in ice sheet volume. It is unclear whether these findings can be directly translated to modern ice sheets. However, contrary to the view that sees ice streams as unstable entities that can accelerate ice-sheet deglaciation, we conclude that ice streams exerted progressively less influence on ice sheet mass balance during the retreat of the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

  16. A Transient Initialization Routine of the Community Ice Sheet Model for the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Laan, Larissa; van den Broeke, Michiel; Noël, Brice; van de Wal, Roderik

    2017-04-01

    The Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM) is to be applied in future simulations of the Greenland Ice Sheet under a range of climate change scenarios, determining the sensitivity of the ice sheet to individual climatic forcings. In order to achieve reliable results regarding ice sheet stability and assess the probability of future occurrence of tipping points, a realistic initial ice sheet geometry is essential. The current work describes and evaluates the development of a transient initialization routine, using NGRIP 18O isotope data to create a temperature anomaly field. Based on the latter, surface mass balance components runoff and precipitation are perturbed for the past 125k years. The precipitation and runoff fields originate from a downscaled 1 km resolution version of the regional climate model RACMO2.3 for the period 1961-1990. The result of the initialization routine is a present-day ice sheet with a transient memory of the last glacial-interglacial cycle, which will serve as the future runs' initial condition.

  17. West antarctic ice sheet collapse: Chimera or clear danger

    SciTech Connect

    Alley, R.B. ); MacAyeal, D.R. )

    1993-01-01

    The specter of a west antarctic collapse has been with us for 25 years. Recently, certain official assessments concerned primarily with the future response to projected global warming have concluded that Antarctica will not cause much sea-level rise within the planning horizon of a century or so. At the same time startling new results on ice sheet (in)stability have been emerging, pointing to less stability then previously believed. Some recent results are reviewed briefly: Heinrich layers in the North Atlantic show basally lubricated surges of the Laurentide ice sheet; the west antarctic ice sheet collapsed recently; the modern west antarctic ice sheet is changing rapidly locally; the bed of ice stream B is exceptionally well lubricated by water and water-saturated soft sediments; the modern ice sheet is thinning slowly on average; a model west antarctic ice sheet undergoes rapid collapses long after forcing and probably related to penetration of warmth to the bed. 23 refs.

  18. Monitoring ice sheet behavior from space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bindschadler, Robert

    1998-02-01

    Satellite remote sensing has revolutionized ice sheet research. A variety of instruments sensitive to different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum take what the human eye detects as a flat, white desert and provide data sets rich in scientific information. Image-based maps of ice sheets are becoming commonplace and have become an integral component of field work. More than a pretty picture, the digital character of the satellite data from these instruments has become fundamental to the production of elevation, motion, accumulation, and reflectance data sets. Visible imagery shows the scientist a wealth of features that offer clues to the history and current behavior of the ice sheet. Radar and microwave imagery provide information from beneath the surface and have been used to estimate snow accumulation rates. Interferometry principles have recently been applied to measure surface topography and ice motion with unparalleled precision. Nonimaging instruments also keep a watchful eye, monitoring the ice sheet for indications of growth or shrinkage. Further expansion of the uses of satellite data is anticipated in the future.

  19. ISMIP6: Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nowicki, S.

    2015-01-01

    ISMIP6 (Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6) targets the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and the Future Sea Level Grand Challenges of the WCRP (World Climate Research Program). Primary goal is to provide future sea level contribution from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, along with associated uncertainty. Secondary goal is to investigate feedback due to dynamic ice sheet models. Experiment design uses and augment the existing CMIP6 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6) DECK (Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Characterization of Klima) experiments. Additonal MIP (Model Intercomparison Project)- specific experiments will be designed for ISM (Ice Sheet Model). Effort builds on the Ice2sea, SeaRISE (Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution) and COMBINE (Comprehensive Modelling of the Earth System for Better Climate Prediction and Projection) efforts.

  20. Equilibrium ice sheet scaling in climate modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Verbitsky, M.Y.

    1992-03-01

    A set of simple scaling formulas related to ice sheet evolution is derived from the dynamic and thermodynamic equations for ice and is used to consider two common situations: (1) when we wish to estimate potential ice sheet characteristics given the prescribed net snow accumulation over an area; and (b) when we wish to reconstruct net snow accumulation and vertical temperature difference within the ice sheet area and volume. The scaling formulas are applied to the present day Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, as well as to some ancient ice sheets, and are used to estimate the potential global sea level change due to greenhouse warming. 23 refs.

  1. Greenland Ice Sheet glacier motion and ice loss: New understanding of ice sheet behavior through remote sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, T. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Scambos, T.; Joughin, I.

    2015-12-01

    Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet makes up roughly a third of current sea level rise, also generating substantial local and regional freshwater fluxes. Containing more than 6 meters of sea level rise equivalent in ice, Greenland has the potential to contribute much more to rising ocean levels and freshening water in the future. Understanding the dynamics of the ice sheet, particularly the behavior of fast flowing coastal outlet glaciers, is critical to improving predictions of future ice sheet change and associated impacts. Combining velocity, glacier ice front, sea ice, and ice sheet surface melt data, we made several important advances in characterizing and understanding seasonal glacier behavior and the processes driving change: 1) seasonal velocity patterns fall into at least 3 distinct patterns, 2) these seasonal velocity patterns likely indicate differences in glacier responsiveness to ocean versus subglacial hydrologic processes, and 3) in some regions seasonal versus multi-year velocity changes appear most strongly influenced by different environmental factors. Further progress was previously hampered by limits in measurement resolution across space and time. To address this challenge, we are creating a new - and continuously growing - ice velocity dataset from Landsat 8 imagery. This data stream supports comprehensive global measurements of ice flow, providing a leap in our understanding of ice sheet motion across space and time. We offer a high-level discussion of our research findings and an introduction to the new Landsat 8-enabled data stream. Our results and measurement capabilities deliver critical new knowledge about ice sheet behavior and interaction with ocean and climate factors. These advances, in turn, have important implications for other elements of Earth system research, including climate, oceanography, and biology.

  2. Ice Sheet Retention Structures,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1983-12-01

    Protection Manual (U.S. Army water velocities that are too high to allow an ice cover Corps of Engineers 1973). A paper by Czerniak et al. to form...phenomena. Physical hydraulic model stu- dian Journal of Civil Engineering, 4: 380. dies should precede the design and installation of most Czerniak

  3. West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative. Volume 2: Discipline Reviews

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, Robert A. (Editor)

    1991-01-01

    Seven discipline review papers are presented on the state of the knowledge of West Antarctica and opinions on how that knowledge must be increased to predict the future behavior of this ice sheet and to assess its potential to collapse, rapidly raising the global sea level. These are the goals of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative (WAIS).

  4. The contribution to future flood risk in the Severn Estuary from extreme sea level rise due to ice sheet mass loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinn, N.; Bates, P. D.; Siddall, M.

    2013-11-01

    In this paper, we assess the risk of future coastal flooding in the Severn Estuary, examining the contribution from low probability extreme sea level rise scenarios resulting from the possibility of increased rates of ice sheet mass loss in the coming century. A simple asymmetric probability distribution is constructed to include sea level rise scenarios of up to 1.9 m by 2100, based on recent assessments of future sea level rise in the UK. A regular sampling procedure, sampling every 1 mm, is used to increase the boundary water levels associated with a current 1:200 year event to force a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model of coastal inundation to examine the influence of sea level rise on inundation of the Somerset Levels region. From the resulting ensemble of predictions an estimation of risk (conditioned upon the hazard and the probability of occurrence) by 2100 is established. The results indicate that although the likelihood of extreme sea level rise due to rapid ice sheet mass loss is low, the resulting hazard can be large, resulting in a significant (29.7%) increase to the projected risk. These findings clearly demonstrate that uncertainty in future sea level rise, mostly associated with the rate of ice sheet mass loss, is a vital component of coastal flood risk, and therefore, needs to be accounted for by decision makers when considering mitigation policies related to coastal flooding.

  5. The Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (RISCO)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morin, P.; Howat, I. M.; Ahn, Y.; Porter, C.; McFadden, E. M.

    2010-12-01

    The recent expansion of observational capacity from space has revealed dramatic, rapid changes in the Earth’s ice cover. These discoveries have fundamentally altered how scientists view ice-sheet change. Instead of just slow changes in snow accumulation and melting over centuries or millennia, important changes can occur in sudden events lasting only months, weeks, or even a single day. Our understanding of these short time- and space-scale processes, which hold important implications for future global sea level rise, has been impeded by the low temporal and spatial resolution, delayed sensor tasking, incomplete coverage, inaccessibility and/or high cost of data available to investigators. New cross-agency partnerships and data access policies provide the opportunity to dramatically improve the resolution of ice sheet observations by an order of magnitude, from timescales of months and distances of 10’s of meters, to days and meters or less. Advances in image processing technology also enable application of currently under-utilized datasets. The infrastructure for systematically gathering, processing, analyzing and distributing these data does not currently exist. Here we present the development of a multi-institutional, multi-platform observatory for rapid ice change with the ultimate objective of helping to elucidate the relevant timescales and processes of ice sheet dynamics and response to climate change. The Rapid Ice Sheet Observatory (RISCO) gathers observations of short time- and space-scale Cryosphere events and makes them easily accessible to investigators, media and general public. As opposed to existing data centers, which are structured to archive and distribute diverse types of raw data to end users with the specialized software and skills to analyze them, RISCO focuses on three types of geo-referenced raster (image) data products in a format immediately viewable with commonly available software. These three products are (1) sequences of images

  6. Hysteresis and feedback of ice sheet response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; Takahashi, K.

    2014-12-01

    Investigating the response of ice sheets to climatic forcings in the past by climate-ice sheet modelling is important for understanding the ice sheets' change. The 100-kyr cycle of the large Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and fast termination of the glacial cycle are the prominent pattern known from paleoclimate records. We simulate the past glacial cycles with an ice sheet model, IcIES in combination with a general circulation model, MIROC, using the time series of insolation and atmospheric CO2. Feedback processes between ice sheet and atmosphere such as the ice albedo feedback, the elevation-mass balance feedback, desertification effect and stationary wave feedback are analyzed. We show that the threshold of termination of the glacial cycles can be explained by the pattern of the hysteresis of ice sheet change, i.e. multiple steady states of the ice sheets under climatic forcings. We find that slope of the upper branch of the multiple equilibria curve for Laurentide ice volumes is fundamental for the observed glacial patterns. Finally, we discuss the similarity and difference between the hysteresis structure of ice sheets variation for Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland.

  7. Using the glacial geomorphology of palaeo-ice streams to understand mechanisms of ice sheet collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stokes, Chris R.; Margold, Martin; Clark, Chris; Tarasov, Lev

    2017-04-01

    Processes which bring about ice sheet deglaciation are critical to our understanding of glacial-interglacial cycles and ice sheet sensitivity to climate change. The precise mechanisms of deglaciation are also relevant to our understanding of modern-day ice sheet stability and concerns over global sea level rise. Mass loss from ice sheets can be broadly partitioned between melting and a 'dynamic' component whereby rapidly-flowing ice streams/outlet glaciers transfer ice from the interior to the oceans. Surface and basal melting (e.g. of ice shelves) are closely linked to atmospheric and oceanic conditions, but the mechanisms that drive dynamic changes in ice stream discharge are more complex, which generates much larger uncertainties about their future contribution to ice sheet mass loss and sea level rise. A major problem is that observations of modern-day ice streams typically span just a few decades and, at the ice-sheet scale, it is unclear how the entire drainage network of ice streams evolves during deglaciation. A key question is whether ice streams might increase and sustain rates of mass loss over centuries or millennia, beyond those expected for a given ocean-climate forcing. To address this issue, numerous workers have sought to understand ice stream dynamics over longer time-scales using their glacial geomorphology in the palaeo-record. Indeed, our understanding of their geomorphology has grown rapidly in the last three decades, from almost complete ignorance to a detailed knowledge of their geomorphological products. Building on this body of work, this paper uses the glacial geomorphology of 117 ice streams in the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet to reconstruct their activity during its deglaciation ( 22,000 to 7,000 years ago). Ice stream activity was characterised by high variability in both time and space, with ice streams switching on and off in different locations. During deglaciation, we find that their overall number decreased, they occupied a

  8. Very high resolution modelling of the Surface Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Present day conditions and future prospects.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mottram, Ruth; Aðalgeirsdóttir, Guðfinna; Boberg, Fredrik; Hesselbjerg Christensen, Jens; Bøssing Christensen, Ole; Langen, Peter; Rodehacke, Christian; Stendel, Martin; Yang, Shuting

    2014-05-01

    Recent experiments with the Regional Climate Model (RCM) HIRHAM5 have produced new surface mass balance (SMB) estimates at the unprecedented high horizontal resolution of 0.05 degrees (~5.5km). These simulations indicate a present day SMB of 347 ± 98 Gt/year over the whole ice sheet averaged over the period 1989 - 2012 driven by the ERA-Interim reanalysis dataset. We validate accumulation rates over the ice sheet using estimates from shallow firn cores to confirm the importance of resolution to accurate estimates of accumulation. Comparison with PROMICE and GC-Net automatic weather station observations shows the model represents present day climate and climate variability well when driven by the ERA-Interim reanalysis dataset. Comparison with a simulation at 0.25 degrees (~27km) resolution from the same model shows a significantly different calculated SMB over the whole ice sheet, largely due to changes in precipitation distribution over Greenland. The very high resolution requires a more sophisticated treatment of sub-grid scale processes in the snow pack including meltwater retention and refreezing and an enhanced albedo scheme. Our results indicate retention processes account for a significant proportion of the total surface budget based on a new parameterization scheme in the model. SMB projections, driven by the EC-Earth Global Climate Model (GCM) at the boundaries for the RCP 4.5 scenario indicate a declining surface mass balance over the 21st century with some compensation for warmer summer temperatures and enhanced melt in the form of increased precipitation. A cold bias in the driving GCM for present day conditions suggests that this simulation likely underestimates the change in SMB. However, the downscaled precipitation fields compare well with those in the reanalysis driven simulations. A soon-to-be complete simulation uses driving fields from the GCM running the RCP8.5 scenario.

  9. Understanding Recent Mass Balance Changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    vanderVeen, Cornelius

    2003-01-01

    The ultimate goal of this project is to better understand the current transfer of mass between the Greenland Ice Sheet, the world's oceans and the atmosphere, and to identify processes controlling the rate of this transfer, to be able to predict with greater confidence future contributions to global sea level rise. During the first year of this project, we focused on establishing longer-term records of change of selected outlet glaciers, reevaluation of mass input to the ice sheet and analysis of climate records derived from ice cores, and modeling meltwater production and runoff from the margins of the ice sheet.

  10. Modelling the Antarctic Ice Sheet for the last 420kyr

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blasco, Javier; Álvarez-Solas, Jorge; Robinson, Alexander; Montoya, Marisa

    2017-04-01

    Proxy data reveal that in the last glacial-interglacial cycles the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) has experienced changes of its ice volume contributing to past sea-level variations. The AIS is nowadays the largest ice sheet in the world and potentially the largest contributor to a future long term sea-level rise. Because it suffers no significant ablation, it loses mass via basal melting and calving, driven by oceanic forcing. Therefore understanding ice-ocean interactions is crucial to study its past and future. In particular the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is specially sensitive to changes in oceanic temperatures since it rests in its major part below sea level. It also contains the two largest ice shelves of the world, the Ross Ice Shelf and the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf whose collapse is believed could accelerate inland ice flow, due to the loss of their buttressing effect, and enhance sea-level rise. The aim of this work is to simulate the AIS for the last 420kyr under varying orbital forcing using a hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf model. In particular, we will analyze the effect of past oceanic temperatures by including a parametrization for the basal melting of the ice shelves and grounding line dependent on observations and oceanic temperature anomalies. These experiments will shed light into the mechanisms involved in the interactions between ocean and cryosphere relevant for the assessment of the AIS stability in the future.

  11. Mass balance of polar ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Rignot, Eric; Thomas, Robert H

    2002-08-30

    Recent advances in the determination of the mass balance of polar ice sheets show that the Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass by near-coastal thinning, and that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, with thickening in the west and thinning in the north, is probably thinning overall. The mass imbalance of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is likely to be small, but even its sign cannot yet be determined. Large sectors of ice in southeast Greenland, the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula are changing quite rapidly as a result of processes not yet understood.

  12. Recent advances in understanding ice sheet dynamics [rapid communication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, Shawn J.

    2005-12-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets play a dynamic role in Earth's climate system, influencing regional- and global-scale climate and responding to climate change on time scales from years to millennia. They are also an integral part of Earth's landscape in alpine and polar regions, where they are an active agent in isostatic, tectonic, and Earth surface processes. This review paper summarizes recent progress in understanding and modelling ice sheet dynamics, from the microphysical processes of ice deformation in glaciers to continental-scale processes that influence ice dynamics. Based on recent insights and research directions, it can be expected that a new generation of ice sheet models will soon replace the current standard. Improvements that can be foreseen in the near future include: (i) the addition of internally-consistent evolutionary equations for ice crystal fabric (anisotropic flow laws), (ii) more generalized flow laws that include different deformation mechanisms under different stress regimes, (iii) explicit incorporation of the effects of chemical impurities and grain size (dynamic recrystallization) on ice deformation, (iv) higher-order stress solutions to the momentum balance (Stokes' equation) that governs ice sheet flow, and (v) the continued merger of ice sheet models with increasingly complex Earth systems models, which include fully-coupled subglacial hydrological and geological processes. Examples from the Greenland Ice Sheet and Vatnajökull Ice Cap, Iceland are used to illustrate several of these new directions and their importance to glacier dynamics.

  13. Large Ice Discharge From the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, Eric

    1999-01-01

    The objectives of this work are to measure the ice discharge of the Greenland Ice Sheet close to the grounding line and/or calving front, and compare the results with mass accumulation and ablation in the interior to estimate the ice sheet mass balance.

  14. Greenland ice sheet mass balance: a review.

    PubMed

    Khan, Shfaqat A; Aschwanden, Andy; Bjørk, Anders A; Wahr, John; Kjeldsen, Kristian K; Kjær, Kurt H

    2015-04-01

    Over the past quarter of a century the Arctic has warmed more than any other region on Earth, causing a profound impact on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to the rise in global sea level. The loss of ice can be partitioned into processes related to surface mass balance and to ice discharge, which are forced by internal or external (atmospheric/oceanic/basal) fluctuations. Regardless of the measurement method, observations over the last two decades show an increase in ice loss rate, associated with speeding up of glaciers and enhanced melting. However, both ice discharge and melt-induced mass losses exhibit rapid short-term fluctuations that, when extrapolated into the future, could yield erroneous long-term trends. In this paper we review the GrIS mass loss over more than a century by combining satellite altimetry, airborne altimetry, interferometry, aerial photographs and gravimetry data sets together with modelling studies. We revisit the mass loss of different sectors and show that they manifest quite different sensitivities to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. In addition, we discuss recent progress in constructing coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere models required to project realistic future sea-level changes.

  15. Ice Sheet System Model as Educational Entertainment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perez, G.

    2013-12-01

    Understanding the importance of polar ice sheets and their role in the evolution of Sea Level Rise (SLR), as well as Climate Change, is of paramount importance for policy makers as well as the public and schools at large. For example, polar ice sheets and glaciers currently account for 1/3 of the SLR signal, a ratio that will increase in the near to long-term future, which has tremendous societal ramifications. Consequently, it is important to increase awareness about our changing planet. In our increasingly digital society, mobile and web applications are burgeoning venues for such outreach. The Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) is a software that was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/CalTech/NASA, in collaboration with University of California Irvine (UCI), with the goal of better understanding the evolution of polar ice sheets. It is a state-of-the-art framework, which relies on higher-end cluster-computing to address some of the aforementioned challenges. In addition, it is a flexible framework that can be deployed on any hardware; in particular, on mobile platforms such as Android or iOS smart phones. Here, we look at how the ISSM development team managed to port their model to these platforms, what the implications are for improving how scientists disseminate their results, and how a broader audience may familiarize themselves with running complex climate models in simplified scenarios which are highly educational and entertaining in content. We also look at the future plans toward a web portal fully integrated with mobile technologies to deliver the best content to the public, and to provide educational plans/lessons that can be used in grades K-12 as well as collegiate under-graduate and graduate programs.

  16. Impact of bedrock description on modeling ice sheet dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Durand, G.; Gagliardini, O.; Favier, L.; Zwinger, T.; le Meur, E.

    2011-10-01

    Recent glaciological surveys have revealed a significant increase of ice discharge from polar ice caps into the ocean. In parallel, ice flow models have been greatly improved to better reproduce current changes and forecast the future behavior of ice sheets. For these models, surface topography and bedrock elevation are crucial input parameters that largely control the dynamics and the ensuing overall mass balance of the ice sheet. For obvious reasons of inaccessibility, only sparse and uneven bedrock elevation data is available. This raw data is processed to produce Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) on a regular 5 km grid. These DEMs are used to constrain the basal boundary conditions of all ice sheet models. Here, by using a full-Stokes finite element code, we examine the sensitivity of an ice flow model to the accuracy of the bedrock description. In the context of short-term ice sheet forecast, we show that in coastal regions, the bedrock elevation should be known at a resolution of the order of one kilometer. Conversely, a crude description of the bedrock in the interior of the continent does not affect modeling of the ice outflow into the ocean. These findings clearly indicate that coastal regions should be prioritized during future geophysical surveys. They also indicate that a paradigm shift is required to change the current design of DEMs describing the bedrock below the ice sheets: they must give users the opportunity to incorporate high-resolution bedrock elevation data in regions of interest.

  17. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, B.; Dolan, A. M.; Bernales, J.; Gasson, E.; Goelzer, H.; Golledge, N. R.; Sutter, J.; Huybrechts, P.; Lohmann, G.; Rogozhina, I.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; van de Wal, R. S. W.

    2015-05-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The late Pliocene warm period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of six existing numerical ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of five sensitivity experiments. We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. The six ice-sheet models simulate a comparable present-day ice sheet, considering the models are set up with their own parameter settings. For the Pliocene, the results demonstrate the difficulty of all six models used here to simulate a significant retreat or re-advance of the East Antarctic ice grounding line, which is thought to have happened during the Pliocene for the Wilkes and Aurora basins. The specific sea-level contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet at this point cannot be conclusively determined, whereas improved grounding line physics could be essential for a correct representation of the migration of the grounding-line of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Pliocene.

  18. Anthropogenic climate change and the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mikolajewicz, U.; Vizcaíno, M.; Rodehacke, C.; Ziemen, F.

    2012-04-01

    In the standard CMIP5 simulations the ice sheets are kept fixed. Only few groups have been able to perform CMIP5 simulations with interactively coupled ice sheet models. Beside its importance for the future evolution of global mean sea level, the Greenland ice sheet also has the potential to strongly affect deep water formation, especially in the Labrador Sea, but also in the Nordic Seas. Here we present a set of simulations with two interactively coupled ice sheet models, which allows to assess the uncertainty arising from both the ice sheet model as well as the coupling technique. The climate model ECHAM5/MPIOM is coupled interactively to two different ice sheet models using two different coupling strategies. The ice sheet models are a Greenland set-up of SICOPOLIS with 10 km horizontal resolution and a northern hemisphere set-up of PISM with a horizontal resolution of 20 km. The coupling is done either with a simple positive degree days approach or a mass-balance scheme calculating the surface melting with an energy-balance scheme. The atmospheric forcing is applied directly to the ice sheet model without flux correction or anomaly coupling, which avoids inconsistencies between the models. The resulting net mass loss rates for the Greenland ice sheet in a 1-percent-scenario capped at 4x preindustrial atmospheric CO2 concentrations show a considerable dependence on both ice sheet model and coupling technique. The resulting differences in atmospheric climate, however, are small within the first centuries and restricted to the immediate vicinity of Greenland. The feedbacks between atmosphere, ocean and the Greenland ice sheet are studied in a series of sensitivity experiments, where individual feedbacks were suppressed. It turns out that the future development of the Atlantic overturning and its associated heat transport are quite important for the future evolution of the Greenland ice sheet: The stronger the Atlantic overturning remains, the stronger the mass loss

  19. Antarctic Ice Sheet fertilises the Southern Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wadham, J. L.; Death, R.; Monteiro, F. M.; Le Brocq, A. M.; Tranter, M.; Ridgwell, A. J.; Raiswell, R.; Hawkings, J.

    2012-12-01

    Southern Ocean (SO) marine primary productivity (PP) is limited by the availability of iron in surface waters, such that variations in iron supply to the SO are thought to exert a major control upon atmospheric CO2 concentrations on glacial/interglacial timescales. The zone bordering the Antarctic Ice Sheet exhibits high PP, exhibiting seasonal plankton blooms in response to elevated dissolved iron concentrations. The source of iron stimulating these PP increases is in debate, traditionally ascribed contributors being aeolian dust, coastal sediments/upwelling and sea ice. More recently, icebergs and glacial meltwater have been suggested as sources. Data from glacial meltwaters worldwide indicate that sub-Antarctic meltwaters are likely to be anoxic, as a result of long flow paths and little surface input of oxygenated meltwaters. Hence, it is probable that they are rich in dissolved iron (as Fe(II)), acquired via the oxidation of sulphide minerals in sediments. In contrast, iron in iceberg rafted debris is dominated by iron oxyhydroxides, generated in oxic sectors of the ice sheet bed by regelation processes or entrained in icebergs as they pass over shelf sediments. The potential for iron from both these ice sheet sources to impact PP has not yet been quantified. Here we apply the MIT marine ecosystem model to determine the potential impact of ice sheet iron export on SO PP. Fluxes of iceberg and meltwater-derived iron are focused along major ice stream corridors, and enhance iron concentrations in surface ocean waters. The impact on SO PP is greatest in coastal regions, including the Ross Sea, Weddell Sea and Amundsen Sea, all of which are areas of high observed marine PP. Inclusion of ice sheet iron sources in modelled scenarios raises SO PP by 10-30%, and provides a plausible explanation for very high seasonally observed PP around the coastal zone. These results highlight Antarctic runoff and icebergs as previously neglected sources of bioavailable iron to the

  20. Ice_Sheets_CCI: Essential Climate Variables for the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forsberg, R.; Sørensen, L. S.; Khan, A.; Aas, C.; Evansberget, D.; Adalsteinsdottir, G.; Mottram, R.; Andersen, S. B.; Ahlstrøm, A.; Dall, J.; Kusk, A.; Merryman, J.; Hvidberg, C.; Khvorostovsky, K.; Nagler, T.; Rott, H.; Scharrer, M.; Shepard, A.; Ticconi, F.; Engdahl, M.

    2012-04-01

    As part of the ESA Climate Change Initiative (www.esa-cci.org) a long-term project "ice_sheets_cci" started January 1, 2012, in addition to the existing 11 projects already generating Essential Climate Variables (ECV) for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). The "ice_sheets_cci" goal is to generate a consistent, long-term and timely set of key climate parameters for the Greenland ice sheet, to maximize the impact of European satellite data on climate research, from missions such as ERS, Envisat and the future Sentinel satellites. The climate parameters to be provided, at first in a research context, and in the longer perspective by a routine production system, would be grids of Greenland ice sheet elevation changes from radar altimetry, ice velocity from repeat-pass SAR data, as well as time series of marine-terminating glacier calving front locations and grounding lines for floating-front glaciers. The ice_sheets_cci project will involve a broad interaction of the relevant cryosphere and climate communities, first through user consultations and specifications, and later in 2012 optional participation in "best" algorithm selection activities, where prototype climate parameter variables for selected regions and time frames will be produced and validated using an objective set of criteria ("Round-Robin intercomparison"). This comparative algorithm selection activity will be completely open, and we invite all interested scientific groups with relevant experience to participate. The results of the "Round Robin" exercise will form the algorithmic basis for the future ECV production system. First prototype results will be generated and validated by early 2014. The poster will show the planned outline of the project and some early prototype results.

  1. Glaciological constraints on current ice mass changes from modelling the ice sheets over the glacial cycles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huybrechts, P.

    2003-04-01

    The evolution of continental ice sheets introduces a long time scale in the climate system. Large ice sheets have a memory of millenia, hence the present-day ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are still adjusting to climatic variations extending back to the last glacial period. This trend is separate from the direct response to mass-balance changes on decadal time scales and needs to be correctly accounted for when assessing current and future contributions to sea level. One way to obtain estimates of current ice mass changes is to model the past history of the ice sheets and their underlying beds over the glacial cycles. Such calculations assist to distinguish between the longer-term ice-dynamic evolution and short-term mass-balance changes when interpreting altimetry data, and are helpful to isolate the effects of postglacial rebound from gravity and altimetry trends. The presentation will discuss results obtained from 3-D thermomechanical ice-sheet/lithosphere/bedrock models applied to the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. The simulations are forced by time-dependent boundary conditions derived from sediment and ice core records and are constrained by geomorphological and glacial-geological data of past ice sheet and sea-level stands. Current simulations suggest that the Greenland ice sheet is close to balance, while the Antarctic ice sheet is still losing mass, mainly due to incomplete grounding-line retreat of the West Antarctic ice sheet since the LGM. The results indicate that altimetry trends are likely dominated by ice thickness changes but that the gravitational signal mainly reflects postglacial rebound.

  2. Balance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    For several decades, measurements of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet showed it to be retreating rapidly. But new data derived from satellite-borne radar sensors show the ice sheet to be growing. Changing Antarctic ice sheets remains an area of high scientific interest, particularly in light of recent global warming concerns. These new findings are significant because scientists estimate that sea level would rise 5-6 meters (16-20 feet) if the ice sheet collapsed into the sea. Do these new measurements signal the end of the ice sheet's 10,000-year retreat? Or, are these new satellite data simply much more accurate than the sparse ice core and surface measurements that produced the previous estimates? Another possibility is that the ice accumulation may simply indicate that the ice sheet naturally expands and retreats in regular cycles. Cryologists will grapple with these questions, and many others, as they examine the new data. The image above depicts the region of West Antarctica where scientists measured ice speed. The fast-moving central ice streams are shown in red. Slower tributaries feeding the ice streams are shown in blue. Green areas depict slow-moving, stable areas. Thick black lines depict the areas that collect snowfall to feed their respective ice streams. Reference: Ian Joughin and Slawek Tulaczyk Science Jan 18 2002: 476-480. Image courtesy RADARSAT Antarctic Mapping Project

  3. An ice sheet model validation framework for the Greenland ice sheet

    DOE PAGES

    Price, Stephen F.; Hoffman, Matthew J.; Bonin, Jennifer A.; ...

    2017-01-17

    decades. An extensible design will allow for continued use of the CMCT as future altimetry, gravimetry, and other remotely sensed data become available for use in ice sheet model validation.« less

  4. An ice sheet model validation framework for the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, Stephen F.; Hoffman, Matthew J.; Bonin, Jennifer A.; Howat, Ian M.; Neumann, Thomas; Saba, Jack; Tezaur, Irina; Guerber, Jeffrey; Chambers, Don P.; Evans, Katherine J.; Kennedy, Joseph H.; Lenaerts, Jan; Lipscomb, William H.; Perego, Mauro; Salinger, Andrew G.; Tuminaro, Raymond S.; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Nowicki, Sophie M. J.

    2017-01-01

    Greenland over the past few decades. An extensible design will allow for continued use of the CmCt as future altimetry, gravimetry, and other remotely sensed data become available for use in ice sheet model validation.

  5. A Prediction of Increase in Subglacial Volcanism Beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) as Future Deglaciation Caused by Ocean Circulation Proceeds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behrendt, J. C.; LeMasurier, W. E.

    2015-12-01

    Many decades of aeromagnetic surveying (e.g. Behrendt, 1964; 2013; and others) over the West Antarctic Ice sheet (WAIS) have shown >1000 high amplitude, shallow source magnetic anomalies interpreted as as indicating subglacial volcanic centers of late Cenozoic age to presently active. Similar anomalies exist over exposed volcanic rocks bordering the WAIS in places.Recent papers (e.g. Wouters et al., 2015; Paolo, et al.; 2015 and others) based on satellite altimetry have shown dramatic thinning and retreat of ice shelves, particularly those bordering the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, caused by melting from circulation of warming sea water. Previous workers have shown that when ice shelves collapse, the ice streams previously dammed by them accelerate an order of magnitude higher velocity, and surface elevation decreases. GRACE satellite interpretations (e.g. Velicogna et al., and others) indicate mass loss of WAIS in recent years.The bed elevation beneath the WAIS deepens inland from the Amundsen and Bellingshausen coasts, although high relief volcanic topography is present in a number of areas beneath the ice.Crowley et a. (2015) have shown that glacial cycles may drive production of oceanic crust by lowering pressure in the mantle resulting in increased melting and magma production. Increased volcanism due to deglaciation in Iceland has apparently produced increased in volcanic activity there. Deglaciation of the Norwegian continental shelf has resulted in faulting of the sea floor and similar faulting has been reported of the Ross Sea shelf following deglaciation there.I suggest here that as the WAIS collapses in the future resulting from climate change, an increase in volcanic activity beneath the ice might be expected. This may provide a feedback mechanism for increase in ice melting.

  6. Holocene deceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Colgan, William T; Fahnestock, Mark A; Morlighem, Mathieu; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Gogineni, S Prasad

    2016-02-05

    Recent peripheral thinning of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly offset by interior thickening and is overprinted on its poorly constrained Holocene evolution. On the basis of the ice sheet's radiostratigraphy, ice flow in its interior is slower now than the average speed over the past nine millennia. Generally higher Holocene accumulation rates relative to modern estimates can only partially explain this millennial-scale deceleration. The ice sheet's dynamic response to the decreasing proportion of softer ice from the last glacial period and the deglacial collapse of the ice bridge across Nares Strait also contributed to this pattern. Thus, recent interior thickening of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly an ongoing dynamic response to the last deglaciation that is large enough to affect interpretation of its mass balance from altimetry. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  7. Considering thermal-viscous collapse of the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Colgan, William; Sommers, Aleah; Rajaram, Harihar; Abdalati, Waleed; Frahm, Joel

    2015-07-01

    We explore potential changes in Greenland ice sheet form and flow associated with increasing ice temperatures and relaxing effective ice viscosities. We define "thermal-viscous collapse" as a transition from the polythermal ice sheet temperature distribution characteristic of the Holocene to temperate ice at the pressure melting point and associated lower viscosities. The conceptual model of thermal-viscous collapse we present is dependent on: (1) sufficient energy available in future meltwater runoff, (2) routing of meltwater to the bed of the ice sheet interior, and (3) efficient energy transfer from meltwater to the ice. Although we do not attempt to constrain the probability of thermal-viscous collapse, it appears thermodynamically plausible to warm the deepest 15% of the ice sheet, where the majority of deformational shear occurs, to the pressure melting point within four centuries. First-order numerical modeling of an end-member scenario, in which prescribed ice temperatures are warmed at an imposed rate of 0.05 K/a, infers a decrease in ice sheet volume of 5 ± 2% within five centuries of initiating collapse. This is equivalent to a cumulative sea-level rise contribution of 33 ± 18 cm. The vast majority of the sea-level rise contribution associated with thermal-viscous collapse, however, would likely be realized over subsequent millennia.

  8. Seasonal Greenland Ice Sheet ice flow variations in regions of differing bed and surface topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sole, A. J.; Livingstone, S. J.; Rippin, D. M.; Hill, J.; McMillan, M.; Quincey, D. J.

    2015-12-01

    The contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) to future sea-level rise is uncertain. Observations reveal the important role of basal water in controlling ice-flow to the ice sheet margin. In Greenland, drainage of large volumes of surface meltwater to the ice sheet bed through moulins and hydrofracture beneath surface lakes dominates the subglacial hydrological system and provides an efficient means of moving mass and heat through the ice sheet. Ice surface and bed topography influence where meltwater can access the bed, and the nature of its subsequent flow beneath the ice. However, no systematic investigation into the influence of topographic variability on Greenland hydrology and dynamics exists. Thus, physical processes controlling storage and drainage of surface and basal meltwater, and the way these affect ice flow are not comprehensively understood. This presents a critical obstacle in efforts to predict the future evolution of the GrIS. Here we present high-resolution satellite mapping of the ice-surface drainage network (e.g. lakes, channels and moulins) and measurements of seasonal variations in ice flow in south west Greenland. The region is comprised of three distinct subglacial terrains which vary in terms of the amplitude and wavelength and thus the degree to which basal topography is reflected in the ice sheet surface. We find that the distribution of surface hydrological features is related to the transfer of bed topography to the ice sheet surface. For example, in areas of thinner ice and high bed relief, moulins occur more frequently and are more uniformly dispersed, indicating a more distributed influx of surface-derived meltwater to the ice sheet bed. We investigate the implications of such spatial variations in surface hydrology on seasonal ice flow rates.

  9. Swath Measurements of Ice Sheet Bottom Topography and Radar Reflectivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freeman, A.; Gogineni, P. S.; Jezek, K. C.; Rodriguez, E.; Wu, X.

    2009-12-01

    Ice sheet thickness is a fundamental measurement for understanding the dynamics of large ice sheets (terrestrial or extraterrestrial). Radar is the primary tool used to measure ice thickness but a major challenge is accurately measuring the arrival time of the basal echo in the presence of surface clutter, which may arise from processes such as wind driven deposition and erosion or crevassing. Essentially, the basal echo strength, which is weak because of attenuation through the ice, becomes comparable to the surface scattering signal even though the coincident surface return comes from a large, off-nadir angle. During the past 4 years, we explored three surface clutter rejection techniques and applied them to data collected with 150/450 MHz radars operated from aircraft over the Greenland Ice Sheet. We also investigated how the techniques could be used to go beyond nadir sounding of ice sheets and, when operated used with broad-beam antennas, could successfully acquire 3-dimensional intensity images of the ice sheet base. In this paper, we describe experiments to image the ice sheet base using: synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferogram filtering; SAR tomography; and beam steering. For the case of a broad beam antenna array, we show that interferograms filtering provides the highest quality topographic data from both the left and right sides of the aircraft but only under optimal conditions. We show that a beam-steering/radar tomography hybrid algorithm provides the most robust topography and also yields an intensity map. We provide example topographies for the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet and suggest how the approach could be used for future sounding of extraterrestrial ice. The research described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 3-d radar image of the base of the ice sheet. Scene is an orthorectified mosaic located just

  10. Ice-sheet response to oceanic forcing.

    PubMed

    Joughin, Ian; Alley, Richard B; Holland, David M

    2012-11-30

    The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice at accelerating rates, much of which is a response to oceanic forcing, especially of the floating ice shelves. Recent observations establish a clear correspondence between the increased delivery of oceanic heat to the ice-sheet margin and increased ice loss. In Antarctica, most of these processes are reasonably well understood but have not been rigorously quantified. In Greenland, an understanding of the processes by which warmer ocean temperatures drive the observed retreat remains elusive. Experiments designed to identify the relevant processes are confounded by the logistical difficulties of instrumenting ice-choked fjords with actively calving glaciers. For both ice sheets, multiple challenges remain before the fully coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere models needed for rigorous sea-level projection are available.

  11. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations.

    PubMed

    Naish, T; Powell, R; Levy, R; Wilson, G; Scherer, R; Talarico, F; Krissek, L; Niessen, F; Pompilio, M; Wilson, T; Carter, L; DeConto, R; Huybers, P; McKay, R; Pollard, D; Ross, J; Winter, D; Barrett, P; Browne, G; Cody, R; Cowan, E; Crampton, J; Dunbar, G; Dunbar, N; Florindo, F; Gebhardt, C; Graham, I; Hannah, M; Hansaraj, D; Harwood, D; Helling, D; Henrys, S; Hinnov, L; Kuhn, G; Kyle, P; Läufer, A; Maffioli, P; Magens, D; Mandernack, K; McIntosh, W; Millan, C; Morin, R; Ohneiser, C; Paulsen, T; Persico, D; Raine, I; Reed, J; Riesselman, C; Sagnotti, L; Schmitt, D; Sjunneskog, C; Strong, P; Taviani, M; Vogel, S; Wilch, T; Williams, T

    2009-03-19

    Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch ( approximately 5-3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, approximately 40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to approximately 3 degrees C warmer than today and atmospheric CO(2) concentration was as high as approximately 400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt under conditions of elevated CO(2).

  12. Ice sheet topography by satellite altimetry

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brooks, R.L.; Campbell, W.J.; Ramseier, R.O.; Stanley, H.R.; Zwally, H.J.

    1978-01-01

    The surface elevation of the southern Greenland ice sheet and surface features of the ice flow are obtained from the radar altimeter on the GEOS 3 satellite. The achieved accuracy in surface elevation is ???2 m. As changes in surface elevation are indicative of changes in ice volume, the mass balance of the present ice sheets could be determined by repetitive mapping of the surface elevation and the surface could be monitored to detect surging or significant changes in ice flow. ?? 1978 Nature Publishing Group.

  13. Pronounced Warming of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polashenski, C.; Courville, Z.; Benson, C. S.; Wong, G. J.; Hawley, R. L.; Hall, D. K.; Chen, J.

    2013-12-01

    In the late spring and early summer of 2013, researchers on the SAGE (Sunlight Absorption on the Greenland ice sheet Experiment) Traverse, conducted a 4000 km snowmobile traverse across northwest Greenland. One aspect of this study collected field measurements of borehole temperatures across the northern Greenland ice sheet. Sites first measured by Benson in 1953-1955 are re-visited, showing long term trends in ice sheet temperature. Results indicate a pattern of dramatic warming (up to +5-6 C) at mid-level elevations (1400-2500 m) and little temperature change or perhaps slight cooling at high elevations (>2500 m). Compared to coastal West Greenland stations and Arctic-wide temperature reconstructions, which indicate warming trends of 1-1.5 C over the intervening 58-60 years, both results are surprising. Several mechanisms are explored which may account for the rapid warming of mid-altitude ice sheet, including albedo changes and elevated heat transport into the ice due to percolation. The observed ice warming, increasing ice temperature faster than air temperature changes, has serious implications, potentially driving melt facies up the ice sheet faster than would otherwise be expected and priming the ice sheet for greater runoff production.

  14. Ice sheets. Volume loss from Antarctic ice shelves is accelerating.

    PubMed

    Paolo, Fernando S; Fricker, Helen A; Padman, Laurie

    2015-04-17

    The floating ice shelves surrounding the Antarctic Ice Sheet restrain the grounded ice-sheet flow. Thinning of an ice shelf reduces this effect, leading to an increase in ice discharge to the ocean. Using 18 years of continuous satellite radar altimeter observations, we have computed decadal-scale changes in ice-shelf thickness around the Antarctic continent. Overall, average ice-shelf volume change accelerated from negligible loss at 25 ± 64 cubic kilometers per year for 1994-2003 to rapid loss of 310 ± 74 cubic kilometers per year for 2003-2012. West Antarctic losses increased by ~70% in the past decade, and earlier volume gain by East Antarctic ice shelves ceased. In the Amundsen and Bellingshausen regions, some ice shelves have lost up to 18% of their thickness in less than two decades.

  15. Subglacial lake drainage detected beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    PubMed Central

    Palmer, Steven; McMillan, Malcolm; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-01-01

    The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise has accelerated in recent decades. Subglacial lake drainage events can induce an ice sheet dynamic response—a process that has been observed in Antarctica, but not yet in Greenland, where the presence of subglacial lakes has only recently been discovered. Here we investigate the water flow paths from a subglacial lake, which drained beneath the Greenland ice sheet in 2011. Our observations suggest that the lake was fed by surface meltwater flowing down a nearby moulin, and that the draining water reached the ice margin via a subglacial tunnel. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar-derived measurements of ice surface motion acquired in 1995 suggest that a similar event may have occurred 16 years earlier, and we propose that, as the climate warms, increasing volumes of surface meltwater routed to the bed will cause such events to become more common in the future. PMID:26450175

  16. Subglacial lake drainage detected beneath the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Palmer, Steven; McMillan, Malcolm; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-10-09

    The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise has accelerated in recent decades. Subglacial lake drainage events can induce an ice sheet dynamic response--a process that has been observed in Antarctica, but not yet in Greenland, where the presence of subglacial lakes has only recently been discovered. Here we investigate the water flow paths from a subglacial lake, which drained beneath the Greenland ice sheet in 2011. Our observations suggest that the lake was fed by surface meltwater flowing down a nearby moulin, and that the draining water reached the ice margin via a subglacial tunnel. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar-derived measurements of ice surface motion acquired in 1995 suggest that a similar event may have occurred 16 years earlier, and we propose that, as the climate warms, increasing volumes of surface meltwater routed to the bed will cause such events to become more common in the future.

  17. Ice sheets viewed from the ocean: the contribution of marine science to understanding modern and past ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Ó Cofaigh, Colm

    2012-12-13

    Over the last two decades, marine science, aided by technological advances in sediment coring, geophysical imaging and remotely operated submersibles, has played a major role in the investigation of contemporary and former ice sheets. Notable advances have been achieved with respect to reconstructing the extent and flow dynamics of the large polar ice sheets and their mid-latitude counterparts during the Quaternary from marine geophysical and geological records of landforms and sediments on glacier-influenced continental margins. Investigations of the deep-sea ice-rafted debris record have demonstrated that catastrophic collapse of large (10(5)-10(6) km(2)) ice-sheet drainage basins occurred on millennial and shorter time scales and had a major influence on oceanography. In the last few years, increasing emphasis has been placed on understanding physical processes at the ice-ocean interface, particularly at the grounding line, and on determining how these processes affect ice-sheet stability. This remains a major challenge, however, owing to the logistical constraints imposed by working in ice-infested polar waters and ice-shelf cavities. Furthermore, despite advances in reconstructing the Quaternary history of mid- and high-latitude ice sheets, major unanswered questions remain regarding West Antarctic ice-sheet stability, and the long-term offshore history of the East Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets remains poorly constrained. While these are major research frontiers in glaciology, and ones in which marine science has a pivotal role to play, realizing such future advances will require an integrated collaborative approach between oceanographers, glaciologists, marine geologists and numerical modellers.

  18. Can ice sheets trigger abrupt climatic change?

    SciTech Connect

    Hughes, T.

    1996-11-01

    The discovery in recent years of abrupt climatic changes in climate proxy records from Greenland ice cores and North Atlantic sediment cores, and from other sites around the world, has diverted attention from gradual insolation changes caused by Earth`s orbital variations to more rapid processes on Earth`s surface as forcing Quaternary climatic change. In particular, forcing by ice sheets has been quantified for a major ice stream that drained the Laurentide Ice Sheet along Hudson Strait. The history of these recent discoveries leading to an interest in ice sheets is reviewed, and a case is made that ice sheets may drive abrupt climatic change that is virtually synchronous worldwide. Attention is focused on abrupt inception and termination of a Quaternary glaciation cycle, abrupt changes recorded as stadials and interstadials within the cycle, abrupt changes in ice streams that trigger stadials and interstadials, and abrupt changes in the Laurentide Ice Sheet linked to effectively simultaneous abrupt changes in its ice streams. Remaining work needed to quantify further these changes is discussed. 90 refs., 14 figs.

  19. Iceberg Armadas and Pliocene Antarctic Ice Sheet Retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolan, A. M.; Hill, D. J.; van de Flierdt, T.; Cook, C.; Haywood, A. M.

    2011-12-01

    Pliocene East Antarctic Ice Sheet. IRD data and iceberg modelling provides us with a unique window into the changes and oscillations that must have occurred during the Pliocene. While this approach does not give a complete picture of ice sheets during the Pliocene it can be used to evaluate existing reconstructions and provide important constraints on any future reconstructions.

  20. Greenland Ice Sheet retreat during the Eemian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Berg, W. J.; Helsen, M. M.; van de Wal, R. S. W.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Oerlemans, J.

    2012-04-01

    We present a new estimate of the evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet through the Eemian (130 till 115 ky BP). This estimate is determined using the 3D 'shallow' ice sheet model ANICE and the regional climate model RACMO2/GR. The two models are time-slice coupled with an interval of 1500 years. 3D interpolated surface mass balance fields from RACMO2/GR force ANICE. Eemian and post-Eemian climate from the GCM ECHO-G drives RACMO2/GR on its lateral boundaries. These boundaries are gradually adjusted from maximum Eemian conditions to post-Eemian inception conditions, following the orbital parameters and Greenhouse gas concentrations derived from ice cores. The simulation shows a steady mass loss till the insolation conditions decline and the summer climate cools, with a typical rate of mass loss equivalent to 5 cm sea level rise per century for most of the time. Once summer start to cool the Greenland ice sheet recovers fast. The maximum ice loss is about 2 m eustatic sea level compared to present day volume and originates predominantly from southwest Greenland. Our results align with paleo-observations of Eemian ice sheet existence in South Greenland. Strong summer radiation also induces ice retreat in northern Greenland. Moreover, it agrees with preceding studies that the Greenland ice sheet had only a limited contribution to the Eemian sea level high stand. A finding of this novel approach is the impact of topographic pinpoints on the ice sheet evolution. Subglacial topography, like at 52° W 72° N (near Uummannaq), cause promontories in the ice sheet that enhances snowfall. Locations with high snowfall react less on warming than dry locations, because more melt is needed before all snow is removed, and the more efficient ice melt starts. The reduced ice depth also buttresses inland ice, limiting the ice sheet response to enhanced ablation. As a result, this topographical feature becomes the northern limit of significant ice sheet retreat, and shields the north

  1. Application of GRACE to the Evaluation of an Ice Flow Model of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlegel, N.; Wiese, D. N.; Watkins, M. M.; Larour, E. Y.; Box, J. E.; Fettweis, X.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Morlighem, M.; Boening, C.; Seroussi, H. L.

    2014-12-01

    Quantifying Greenland's future contribution to sea level rise is a challenging task and requires accurate estimates of ice flow sensitivity to climate change. Transient ice flow models are promising tools for estimating future ice sheet behavior. However, confidence in these types of future projections is low, especially because evaluation of model historical runs is so challenging due to the scarcity of continental-wide data for validation. For more than a decade, NASA's GRACE has continuously acquired time-variable measurements of the Earth's gravity field and has provided unprecedented surveillance of mass balance of the ice sheets, offering an opportunity for ice sheet model evaluation. Here, we take advantage of a new high-resolution (~300 km) monthly mascon solution for the purpose of mass balance comparison with an independent, historical ice flow model simulation using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). The comparison highlights which regions of the ice sheet differ most from GRACE. Investigation of regional differences in trends and seasonal amplitudes between simulations forced with three different Regional Climate Model (RCM)-based estimates of surface mass balance (SMB) allows us to make conclusions about the relative contributions of various error sources in the model hindcast. This study constitutes the first regional comparison of GRACE data and an ice sheet model. Conclusions will aid in the improvement of RCM SMB estimates as well as ice sheet simulation estimates of present and future rates of sea level rise. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Program and President's and Director's Fund Program.

  2. Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    Stibal, Marek; Gözdereliler, Erkin; Cameron, Karen A.; Box, Jason E.; Stevens, Ian T.; Gokul, Jarishma K.; Schostag, Morten; Zarsky, Jakub D.; Edwards, Arwyn; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; Jacobsen, Carsten S.

    2015-01-01

    Measuring microbial abundance in glacier ice and identifying its controls is essential for a better understanding and quantification of biogeochemical processes in glacial ecosystems. However, cell enumeration of glacier ice samples is challenging due to typically low cell numbers and the presence of interfering mineral particles. We quantified for the first time the abundance of microbial cells in surface ice from geographically distinct sites on the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), using three enumeration methods: epifluorescence microscopy (EFM), flow cytometry (FCM), and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). In addition, we reviewed published data on microbial abundance in glacier ice and tested the three methods on artificial ice samples of realistic cell (102–107 cells ml−1) and mineral particle (0.1–100 mg ml−1) concentrations, simulating a range of glacial ice types, from clean subsurface ice to surface ice to sediment-laden basal ice. We then used multivariate statistical analysis to identify factors responsible for the variation in microbial abundance on the ice sheet. EFM gave the most accurate and reproducible results of the tested methodologies, and was therefore selected as the most suitable technique for cell enumeration of ice containing dust. Cell numbers in surface ice samples, determined by EFM, ranged from ~ 2 × 103 to ~ 2 × 106 cells ml−1 while dust concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 2 mg ml−1. The lowest abundances were found in ice sampled from the accumulation area of the ice sheet and in samples affected by fresh snow; these samples may be considered as a reference point of the cell abundance of precipitants that are deposited on the ice sheet surface. Dust content was the most significant variable to explain the variation in the abundance data, which suggests a direct association between deposited dust particles and cells and/or by their provision of limited nutrients to microbial communities on the GrIS. PMID:25852678

  3. Solar radiation management geoengineering and the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Applegate, P. J.; Keller, K.

    2014-12-01

    Several authors have suggested that technologies for modifying the Earth's climate should be developed so that they can be deployed if a climate emergency seems imminent. These technologies are generally called geoengineering, or climate engineering. Solar radiation management is perhaps the most commonly discussed geoengineering technique. It involves lofting reflective particles into the upper atmosphere, in imitation of explosive volcanic eruptions that produce measurable cooling at the Earth's surface. Given that geoengineering is intended to reduce surface air temperatures, some authors suggest that it could be used to prevent sea level rise from ice sheet mass loss. The Greenland Ice Sheet is an obvious target for geoengineering-based efforts to avoid sea level rise, because it is large and vulnerable to surface air temperature increases. To evaluate this possibility, we use a three-dimensional, shallow-ice sheet model (SICOPOLIS; sicopolis.greveweb.net) to examine the ability of geoengineering to reduce sea level contributions from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Although this model is highly simplified, its speed of execution allows us to investigate many different potential geoengineering scenarios, covering tens of thousands of model years (excluding spinup). We examine stylized geoengineering scenarios, including both aggressive, sustained geoengineering and more moderate efforts. We comment on the implications of our model results for the ability of geoengineering to reduce future ice sheet-driven sea level change, and how our results might change if our experiments were repeated with a more sophisticated ice sheet model.

  4. Climatic Drivers of Past Antarctic Ice Sheet Evolution Add Nonlinearly

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tigchelaar, M.; Timmermann, A.; Pollard, D.; Friedrich, T.; Heinemann, M.

    2015-12-01

    The Antarctic ice sheet has varied substantially in shape and volume in the past, with evidence for strong regional differences in evolution history. Recent observations of change in the Antarctic environment indicate that different regions respond differently to ongoing changes in global climate -- over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet strong increases in sub-shelf melt rates indicate a sensitivity to changes in ocean temperature and circulation, while in East Antarctica the mass balance is increasingly positive due to an increase in accumulation in response to rising temperatures. Modeling the long term evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet can help address questions about its regional sensitivity to external forcing. We have conducted experiments with an established ice sheet model over the last eight glacial cycles using spatially and temporally varying climate forcing from an EMIC. These simulations indicate a glacial-interglacial amplitude of ~11m SLE. Using a series of sensitivity experiments we address the dominant climatic forcing of this evolution. While sea level changes are the main driver of grounding line movement, they alone are not sufficient to explain the full glacial amplitude. Local insolation changes contribute to the initiation of terminations, while accumulation and sub-shelf melt changes feed back positively and negatively respectively onto the ice sheet evolution. This implies that climatic drivers add nonlinearly and the full spectrum of climate forcing needs to be considered when evaluating the sensitivity of the Antarctic ice sheet to past and future climate change.

  5. Models for polythermal ice sheets and glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Ian J.; Schoof, Christian

    2017-02-01

    Polythermal ice sheets and glaciers contain both cold ice and temperate ice. We present two new models to describe the temperature and water content of such ice masses, accounting for the possibility of gravity- and pressure-driven water drainage according to Darcy's law. Both models are based on the principle of energy conservation; one additionally invokes the theory of viscous compaction to calculate pore water pressure, and the other involves a modification of existing enthalpy gradient methods to include gravity-driven drainage. The models self-consistently predict the evolution of temperature in cold ice and of water content in temperate ice. Numerical solutions are described, and a number of illustrative test problems are presented, allowing comparison with existing methods. The suggested models are simple enough to be incorporated in existing ice-sheet models with little modification.

  6. Holocene deceleration of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGregor, Joseph A.; Colgan, William T.; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Morlighem, Mathieu; Catania, Ginny A.; Paden, John D.; Gogineni, S. Prasad

    2016-02-01

    Recent peripheral thinning of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly offset by interior thickening and is overprinted on its poorly constrained Holocene evolution. On the basis of the ice sheet’s radiostratigraphy, ice flow in its interior is slower now than the average speed over the past nine millennia. Generally higher Holocene accumulation rates relative to modern estimates can only partially explain this millennial-scale deceleration. The ice sheet’s dynamic response to the decreasing proportion of softer ice from the last glacial period and the deglacial collapse of the ice bridge across Nares Strait also contributed to this pattern. Thus, recent interior thickening of the Greenland Ice Sheet is partly an ongoing dynamic response to the last deglaciation that is large enough to affect interpretation of its mass balance from altimetry.

  7. Greenland ice sheet is changing

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-09-28

    At 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT) on Friday, Aug. 28, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will host a live TV program about agency research into how and why the massive Greenland ice sheet is changing. The event features scientists actively conducting field work in Greenland, along with extensive video footage of their work performed over this summer. Panelists include: Tom Wagner (cryosphere program scientist with NASA's Earth Science Division), Laurence Smith (chair of the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Geography), Mike Bevis (professor of geodynamics at Ohio State University in Columbus), Sophie Nowicki (physical scientist at Goddard), and Josh Willis (JPL). The Friday program will air live on NASA TV and stream online at: www.nasa.gov/nasatv. To ask questions via social media during the televised event, use the hashtag #askNASA. NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram

  8. Controls on interior West Antarctic Ice Sheet Elevations: inferences from geologic constraints and ice sheet modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ackert, Robert P.; Putnam, Aaron E.; Mukhopadhyay, Sujoy; Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert M.; Kurz, Mark D.; Borns, Harold W.

    2013-04-01

    Knowledge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) response to past sea level and climate forcing is necessary to predict its response to warmer temperatures in the future. The timing and extent of past interior WAIS elevation changes provides insight to WAIS behavior and constraints for ice sheet models. Constraints prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) however, are rare. Surface exposure ages of glacial erratics near the WAIS divide at Mt. Waesche in Marie Byrd Land, and at the Ohio Range in the Transantarctic Mountains, range from ∼10 ka to >500 ka without a dependence on elevation. The probability distribution functions (PDF) of the exposure ages at both locations, are remarkably similar. During the last glaciation, maximum interior ice elevations as recorded by moraines and erratics were reached between 10 ka and 12 ka. However, most exposure ages are older than the LGM and cluster around ∼40 ka and ∼80 ka. The peak in the exposure age distributions at ∼40 ka includes ages of alpine moraine boulders at Mercer Ridge in the Ohio Range. Comparison of the PDF of exposures ages from the Ohio Range and Mt. Waesche with the temperature record from the Fuji Dome ice core indicates that the youngest peak in the exposure age distributions corresponds to the abrupt warming during the Last Glacial termination. A prominent peak in the Ohio Range PDF corresponds to the penultimate termination (stage 5e). During the intervening glacial period, there is not a consistent relationship between the peaks in the PDF at each location and temperature. A combined ice sheet/ice shelf model with forcing scaled to marine δ18O predicts that interior WAIS elevations near the ice divide have varied ∼300 m over the Last Glacial cycle. Peaks in the PDF correspond to model highstands over the last 200 ka. In the simulated elevation history, maximum ice elevations at Ohio Range (+100 m) and Mt. Waesche (+60 m) occur at ∼10 ka, in agreement with observations from these sites

  9. Modelling water isotopes in polar ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lhomme, Nicolas

    2005-07-01

    Concentrations of water isotopes in marine sediments and ice cores are a key indicator for estimating global and regional fluctuations of past temperatures. Interpreting these concentrations requires an understanding of the storage capacity and exchanges among the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere as well as an understanding of the dynamical behaviour of these reservoirs. The contribution of the latter remains poorly established because of the paucity of deep ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica and the difficulty of interpreting these cores. To obtain the water isotope composition of polar ice sheets and gain an understanding of their stratigraphy, I develop a tracer transport method first proposed by Clarke and Marshall (2002) and significantly improve it by introducing an interpolation technique that accounts for the particular age-depth relationship of ice sheets. I combine the tracers with numerical models of ice dynamics to predict the fine layering of polar ice masses such that it is locally validated at ice core sites, hence setting a new method to constrain reconstructions of ice sheets' climatic and dynamic histories. This framework is first applied and tested with the UBC Ice Sheet Model of Marshall and Clarke (1997). I predict the three-dimensional time-evolving stratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet and use the ice core records predicted at GRIP, Dye 3 and Camp Century to better determine the minimal ice extent during the Eemian, 127 kyr ago, when the Earth's climate was somewhat similar to the present. I suggest that 3.5--4.5 m of sea level rise could be attributed to melting in Greenland. Tracers are also applied to Antarctica with the LGGE Ice Sheet Model of Ritz et al. (2001). The three-dimensional model is compared to simple flow models at the deep ice core sites of Dome C, Vostok and Dome Fuji to test the hypotheses on depositional and dynamical conditions used for interpreting ice cores. These studies lead to a well-constrained stratigraphic

  10. Greenland Ice Sheet sensitivity and sea level contribution in the mid-Pliocene warm period - Pliocene Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project PLISMIP

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koenig, S. J.; Dolan, A. M.; de Boer, B.; Stone, E. J.; Hill, D. J.; DeConto, R. M.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Lunt, D. J.; Pollard, D.; Quiquet, A.; Saito, F.; Savage, J.; van de Wal, R.

    2014-07-01

    The understanding of the nature and behavior of ice sheets in past warm periods is important to constrain the potential impacts of future climate change. The mid-Pliocene Warm Period (2.97 to 3.29 Ma) has global temperatures similar to those projected for future climates, nevertheless Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained. We present results from the efforts to simulate mid-Pliocene Greenland ice sheets by means of the international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP). We compare the performance of existing numerical ice sheet models in simulating modern control and mid-Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of sensitivity experiments guided by available proxy records. We quantify equilibrated ice sheet volume on Greenland, identifying a potential range in sea level contributions from warm Pliocene scenarios. A series of statistical measures are performed to quantify the confidence of simulations with focus on inter-model and inter-scenario differences. We find that Pliocene Greenland ice sheets are less sensitive to differences in ice sheet model configurations and internal physical quantities, than to changes in imposed climate forcing. We conclude that Pliocene ice was most likely to be limited to highest elevations in East and South as simulated with the highest confidence and by synthesizing available regional proxies, although extents of those ice caps need to be further constrained by using a range of GCM climate forcings.

  11. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the Late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, Bas; Dolan, Aisling; Bernales, Jorge; Gasson, Edward; Goelzer, Heiko; Golledge, Nick; Sutter, Johannes; Huybrechts, Phillipe; Lohmann, Gerrit; Rogozhina, Irina; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Saito, Fuyuki; van de Wal, Roderik

    2015-04-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The Late-Pliocene warm period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of six existing numerical ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of four sensitivity experiments. Ice-sheet model forcing fields are taken from the HadCM3 atmosphere-ocean climate model runs for the pre-industrial and the Pliocene. We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. The six ice-sheet models simulate a comparable present-day ice sheet, although the models are setup with their own parameter settings. For the Pliocene simulations using the Bedmap1 bedrock topography, some models show a small retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet, which is thought to have happened during the Pliocene for the Wilkes and Aurora basins. This can be ascribed to either the surface mass balance, as the HadCM3 Pliocene climate shows a significant increase over the Wilkes and Aurora basin, or the initial bedrock topography. For the latter, our simulations with the recently

  12. Experimental design for three interrelated Marine Ice-Sheet and Ocean Model Intercomparison Projects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asay-Davis, X. S.; Cornford, S. L.; Durand, G.; Galton-Fenzi, B. K.; Gladstone, R. M.; Gudmundsson, G. H.; Hattermann, T.; Holland, D. M.; Holland, D.; Holland, P. R.; Martin, D. F.; Mathiot, P.; Pattyn, F.; Seroussi, H.

    2015-11-01

    Coupled ice sheet-ocean models capable of simulating moving grounding lines are just becoming available. Such models have a broad range of potential applications in studying the dynamics of marine ice sheets and tidewater glaciers, from process studies to future projections of ice mass loss and sea level rise. The Marine Ice Sheet-Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (MISOMIP) is a community effort aimed at designing and coordinating a series of model intercomparison projects (MIPs) for model evaluation in idealized setups, model verification based on observations, and future projections for key regions in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Here we describe computational experiments constituting three interrelated MIPs for marine ice sheet models and regional ocean circulation models incorporating ice shelf cavities. These consist of ice sheet experiments under the Marine Ice Sheet MIP third phase (MISMIP+), ocean experiments under the ice shelf-ocean MIP second phase (ISOMIP+) and coupled ice sheet-ocean experiments under the MISOMIP first phase (MISOMIP1). All three MIPs use a shared domain with idealized bedrock topography and forcing, allowing the coupled simulations (MISOMIP1) to be compared directly to the individual component simulations (MISMIP+ and ISOMIP+). The experiments, which have qualitative similarities to Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf and the adjacent region of the Amundsen Sea, are designed to explore the effects of changes in ocean conditions, specifically the temperature at depth, on basal melting and ice dynamics. In future work, differences between model results will form the basis for evaluation of the participating models.

  13. Sensitivity of Pliocene ice sheets to orbital forcing

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dolan, A.M.; Haywood, A.M.; Hill, D.J.; Dowsett, H.J.; Hunter, S.J.; Lunt, D.J.; Pickering, S.J.

    2011-01-01

    The stability of the Earth's major ice sheets is a critical uncertainty in predictions of future climate and sea level change. One method of investigating the behaviour of the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets in a warmer-than-modern climate is to look back at past warm periods of Earth history, for example the Pliocene. This paper presents climate and ice sheet modelling results for the mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP; 3.3 to 3.0 million years ago), which has been identified as a key interval for understanding warmer-than-modern climates (Jansen et al., 2007). Using boundary conditions supplied by the United States Geological Survey PRISM Group (Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping), the Hadley Centre coupled ocean–atmosphere climate model (HadCM3) and the British Antarctic Survey Ice Sheet Model (BASISM), we show large reductions in the Greenland and East Antarctic Ice Sheets (GrIS and EAIS) compared to modern in standard mPWP experiments. We also present the first results illustrating the variability of the ice sheets due to realistic orbital forcing during the mid-Pliocene. While GrIS volumes are lower than modern under even the most extreme (cold) mid-Pliocene orbit (losing at least 35% of its ice mass), the EAIS can both grow and shrink, losing up to 20% or gaining up to 10% of its present-day volume. The changes in ice sheet volume incurred by altering orbital forcing alone means that global sea level can vary by more than 25 m during the mid-Pliocene. However, we have also shown that the response of the ice sheets to mPWP orbital hemispheric forcing can be in anti-phase, whereby the greatest reductions in EAIS volume are concurrent with the smallest reductions of the GrIS. If this anti-phase relationship is in operation throughout the mPWP, then the total eustatic sea level response would be dampened compared to the ice sheet fluctuations that are theoretically possible. This suggests that maximum eustatic sea level rise does not

  14. SPICE: Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McMillan, Malcolm; Escola, Roger; Roca, Monica; Escorihuela, Maria Jose; Thibaut, Pierre; Shepherd, Andrew; Remy, Frederique; Aublanc, Jeremie; Benveniste, Jerome; Restano, Marco; Ambrozio, Americo

    2017-04-01

    develop pseudo Low Resolution Mode (pLRM) measurements from SAR Full Bit Rate (FBR) data, to investigate the ability to generate a low resolution product from a closed burst SAR system. For all processing scenarios, we will evaluate the ice sheet elevation measurement using reference airborne and satellite datasets. Finally, we will describe future SPICE activities, which will focus on algorithm developments to existing Delay-Doppler processing schemes, implementation of new SAR retrackers designed for ice sheets, and comparison to AltiKa Ka-band altimetry to study radar wave penetration into the snowpack.

  15. The microbiome of glaciers and ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Anesio, Alexandre M; Lutz, Stefanie; Chrismas, Nathan A M; Benning, Liane G

    2017-01-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets, like other biomes, occupy a significant area of the planet and harbour biological communities with distinct interactions and feedbacks with their physical and chemical environment. In the case of the glacial biome, the biological processes are dominated almost exclusively by microbial communities. Habitats on glaciers and ice sheets with enough liquid water to sustain microbial activity include snow, surface ice, cryoconite holes, englacial systems and the interface between ice and overridden rock/soil. There is a remarkable similarity between the different specific glacial habitats across glaciers and ice sheets worldwide, particularly regarding their main primary producers and ecosystem engineers. At the surface, cyanobacteria dominate the carbon production in aquatic/sediment systems such as cryoconite holes, while eukaryotic Zygnematales and Chlamydomonadales dominate ice surfaces and snow dynamics, respectively. Microbially driven chemolithotrophic processes associated with sulphur and iron cycle and C transformations in subglacial ecosystems provide the basis for chemical transformations at the rock interface under the ice that underpin an important mechanism for the delivery of nutrients to downstream ecosystems. In this review, we focus on the main ecosystem engineers of glaciers and ice sheets and how they interact with their chemical and physical environment. We then discuss the implications of this microbial activity on the icy microbiome to the biogeochemistry of downstream ecosystems.

  16. Quantifying and reducing uncertainty in deglacial ice sheet evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tarasov, Lev

    2017-04-01

    Complete uncertainty quantification and uncertainty reduction are two necessary goals for reconstructing past ice sheet evolution and quantifying associated present day glacial isostatic adjustment. Through concrete examples of the major ice sheets from the last deglaciation, I will outline the key issues that must be addressed and describe an evolving Bayesian approach to generating posterior probability distributions for deglacial evolution. This rigorously merges observational data and modelling. The ice sheet evolution reconstruction problem must therefore consider uncertainties in ice sheet representation, climate, glacial isostatic adjustment (especially given the reliance on relative sea level and vertical velocity data constraints), and glacial geology. A focus on uncertainty quantification, aside from being a defining characteristic of science, enables rational choices in how to reduce uncertainty as well as the opportunity to identify the discrepancies that may enable new discoveries. As an example of the former, I consider posterior uncertainty maps for present-day rates of uplift for the major (past and present) ice sheets. These are effectively "treasure maps" offering guidance, for instance, in designing future repeat GPS campaigns as regions of maximum uncertainty offer the strongest potential constraints for past ice sheet evolution. An example of a long-standing discrepancy with the potential for discovery is that of "missing ice". This is the difficulty in getting enough grounded ice at last glacial maximum to satisfy far-field relative sea level constraints. I will describe the key observational and physical constraints that limit continental ice volumes along with some potential resolutions which invariably require consideration of uncertain uncertainties.

  17. Models for polythermal ice sheets and glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Ian; Schoof, Christian

    2016-04-01

    The dynamics of ice-sheets and glaciers depend sensitively on their thermal structure. Many ice masses are polythermal, containing both cold ice, with temperature below the melting point, and temperate ice, with temperature at the melting point. The temperate ice is really an ice-water mixture, with water produced at grain boundaries by dissipative heating. Although the water content is typically small, it can have an important effect on ice dynamics; water content controls ice viscosity, and internal meltwater percolation affects hydrology. Locations where this may be important are in the enhanced shear layer at the base of fast-flowing outlet glaciers, and in the shear margins of ice streams. In this study, we present a simplified model to describe the temperature and water-content of polythermal ice masses, accounting for the possibility of gravity- and pressure-driven water drainage according to Darcy's law. The model is based on the principle of energy conservation and the theory of viscous compaction. Numerical solutions are described and a number of illustrative test problems presented. The model is compared with existing methods in the literature, including enthalpy gradient methods, to which it reduces under certain conditions. Based on the results of our analysis, we suggest a modified enthalpy method that allows for drainage under gravity but that can be relatively easily implemented in ice-sheet models.

  18. Bacteria beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Lanoil, Brian; Skidmore, Mark; Priscu, John C; Han, Sukkyun; Foo, Wilson; Vogel, Stefan W; Tulaczyk, Slawek; Engelhardt, Hermann

    2009-03-01

    Subglacial environments, particularly those that lie beneath polar ice sheets, are beginning to be recognized as an important part of Earth's biosphere. However, except for indirect indications of microbial assemblages in subglacial Lake Vostok, Antarctica, no sub-ice sheet environments have been shown to support microbial ecosystems. Here we report 16S rRNA gene and isolate diversity in sediments collected from beneath the Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctic Ice Sheet and stored for 15 months at 4 degrees C. This is the first report of microbes in samples from the sediment environment beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The cells were abundant ( approximately 10(7) cells g(-1)) but displayed low diversity (only five phylotypes), likely as a result of enrichment during storage. Isolates were cold tolerant and the 16S rRNA gene diversity was a simplified version of that found in subglacial alpine and Arctic sediments and water. Although in situ cell abundance and the extent of wet sediments beneath the Antarctic ice sheet can only be roughly extrapolated on the basis of this sample, it is clear that the subglacial ecosystem contains a significant and previously unrecognized pool of microbial cells and associated organic carbon that could potentially have significant implications for global geochemical processes.

  19. Conditions for bubble elongation in cold ice-sheet ice

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alley, R.B.; Fitzpatrick, J.J.

    1999-01-01

    Highly elongated bubbles are sometimes observed in ice-sheet ice. Elongation is favored by rapid ice deformation, and opposed by diffusive processes. We use simple models to show that vapor transport dominates diffusion except possibly very close to the melting point, and that latent-heat effects are insignificant. Elongation is favored by larger bubbles at pore close-off, but is nearly independent of bubble compression below close-off. The simple presence of highly elongated bubbles indicates only that a critical ice-strain rate has been exceeded for significant time, and provides no information on possible disruption of stratigraphic continuity by ice deformation.

  20. Decoding ice sheet behavior using englacial layer slopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holschuh, Nicholas; Parizek, Byron R.; Alley, Richard B.; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar

    2017-06-01

    The complex flow fields of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets deform layers deposited as snow at the ice sheet surface, leaving a record of the regional flow history and/or local transitions in basal boundary conditions within the geometry of ice sheet layers. Ice-penetrating radar reveals these layers, but radar data interpretations are limited by the challenges of quantitatively and reproducibly comparing observations with model output. We present a conceptual framework that relates along-track reflector slope to gradients in the steady state velocity field of ice sheets. This method makes effective use of englacial reflectors in regions where it is challenging to image continuous layers and avoids the error propagation inherent to tracer-transport methods, developing the potential for formal radar data assimilation in future modeling studies. We apply our method to radar data collected at the grounding line of Whillans Ice Stream, where enhanced bed friction produces characteristic reflector slopes reproducible using a higher-order ice flow model.

  1. Pliocene retreat of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheet margins (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deconto, R. M.; Pollard, D.

    2013-12-01

    The middle Pliocene epoch (~3 million years ago) is often considered an analogue for future global climatic conditions, because global mean temperatures were comparable to projections of future climate at the end of this century. Importantly, some estimates of mid-Pliocene sea level are >20 m higher than today, implying the potential for significant retreat of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), in addition to the loss of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets (WAIS). Here, we use a hybrid ice sheet-shelf model with freely migrating grounding lines coupled to a high-resolution regional climate model to test the potential for both West and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat during the warm Pliocene and in long-term future scenarios with elevated CO2. In these simulations we apply new treatments of i) ice shelf calving (accounting for the effects of divergent ice flow and surface melt water on crevassing), ii) ice-cliff mechanics at the grounding line, iii) improved sub-glacial bathymetry using BEDMAP2, and iv) a range of plausible ocean warming scenarios based on offline ocean modeling. In warm Pliocene simulations, the combination of improved bathymetric detail and more physically based model treatments of floating and grounded calving fronts substantially increases the rates and magnitudes of ice sheet retreat into over-deepened subglacial basins in both in West and East Antarctica. These new results imply the EAIS margin did indeed contribute to elevated (and orbitally paced) Pliocene sea levels, with Antarctica contributing up to ~20m equivalent sea level during the warmest intervals. In long-term (10^3-4-yr) future simulations using the same model physics, we find these new mechanisms produce a much more sensitive and vulnerable ice sheet than previously considered, with the potential for substantial future retreat of both WAIS and parts of the East Antarctic margin in response to the combined effects of increased surface melt on ice shelf surfaces and

  2. Greenland Ice Sheet Today: A daily look at surface melt of the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leslie, S. R.; Gergely, K. L.; Beitler, J.; Scambos, T. A.; Stroeve, J. C.

    2013-12-01

    An increase in the surface melt of the Greenland ice sheet in recent decades signals the waning of the ice sheet in a changing climate. The unprecedented intense surface melt of the ice sheet in 2012 prompted NASA and NSIDC to launch Greenland Ice Sheet Today, a Web site that offers daily updated satellite data and periodic scientific analysis on surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Near-real-time melt data are derived from an algorithm that estimates melt and is applied to DMSP SSMIS brightness temperatures gridded to a 25km EASE-Grid. These data are then used to generate a daily melt image, a cumulative melt days image, and a daily melt graph. Contextual background information on ice sheets as well as scientific discussions about the status of the Greenland ice sheet are posted periodically. Greenland Ice Sheet Today serves to keep a wide range of user communities informed about a crucial part of the Earth's cryosphere and here we examine the development of and reactions to the Web site.

  3. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the Late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, B.; Dolan, A. M.; Bernales, J.; Gasson, E.; Goelzer, H.; Golledge, N. R.; Sutter, J.; Huybrechts, P.; Lohmann, G.; Rogozhina, I.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Saito, F.; van de Wal, R. S. W.

    2014-11-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The Late-Pliocene warm period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of six existing numerical ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of four sensitivity experiments. Ice-sheet model forcing fields are taken from the HadCM3 atmosphere-ocean climate model runs for the pre-industrial and the Pliocene. We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. The six ice-sheet models simulate a comparable present-day ice sheet, although the models are setup with their own parameter settings. For the Pliocene simulations using the Bedmap1 bedrock topography, some models show a small retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet, which is thought to have happened during the Pliocene for the Wilkes and Aurora basins. This can be ascribed to either the surface mass balance, as the HadCM3 Pliocene climate shows a significant increase over the Wilkes and Aurora basin, or the initial bedrock topography. For the latter, our simulations with the recently

  4. Ice Velocity Measurements From The First Sentinel-1a Full Antarctic Ice Sheet Campaign

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hogg, A. E.; Shepherd, A.; Gourmelen, N.; Nagler, T.

    2015-12-01

    Island Glacier in West Antarctica InSAR is less successful. We conclude that the short 12-day repeat period and large scale coverage of Sentinel-1a is an invaluable new resource, which in the future will be a critical tool for monitoring ice velocity change and dynamic instability of the Antarctic ice sheet.

  5. The contribution to future flood risk in the Severn Estuary from extreme sea level rise due to ice sheet mass loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinn, N.; Bates, P. D.; Siddall, M.

    2013-12-01

    The rate at which sea levels will rise in the coming century is of great interest to decision makers tasked with developing mitigation policies to cope with the risk of coastal inundation. Accurate estimates of future sea levels are vital in the provision of effective policy. Recent reports from UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) suggest that mean sea levels in the UK may rise by as much as 80 cm by 2100; however, a great deal of uncertainty surrounds model predictions, particularly the contribution from ice sheets responding to climatic warming. For this reason, the application of semi-empirical modelling approaches for sea level rise predictions has increased of late, the results from which suggest that the rate of sea level rise may be greater than previously thought, exceeding 1 m by 2100. Furthermore, studies in the Red Sea indicate that rapid sea level rise beyond 1m per century has occurred in the past. In light of such research, the latest UKCIP assessment has included a H++ scenario for sea level rise in the UK of up to 1.9 m which is defined as improbable but, crucially, physically plausible. The significance of such low-probability sea level rise scenarios upon the estimation of future flood risk is assessed using the Somerset levels (UK) as a case study. A simple asymmetric probability distribution is constructed to include sea level rise scenarios of up to 1.9 m by 2100 which are added to a current 1:200 year event water level to force a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model of coastal inundation. From the resulting ensemble predictions an estimation of risk by 2100 is established. The results indicate that although the likelihood of extreme sea level rise due to rapid ice sheet mass loss is low, the resulting hazard can be large, resulting in a significant (27%) increase to the projected annual risk. Furthermore, current defence construction guidelines for the coming century in the UK are expected to account for 95% of the sea level rise distribution

  6. Growth of Greenland ice sheet - Interpretation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay

    1989-01-01

    An observed 0.23 m/year thickening of the Greenland ice sheet indicates a 25 percent to 45 percent excess ice accumulation over the amount required to balance the outward ice flow. The implied global sea-level depletion is 0.2 to 0.4 mm/year, depending on whether the thickening is only recent (5 to 10 years) or longer term (less than 100 years). If there is a similar imbalance in the northern 60 percent of the ice-sheet area, the depletion is 0.35 to 0.7 mm/year. Increasing ice thickness suggests that the precipitation is higher than the long-term average; higher precipitation may be a characteristic of warmer climates in polar regions.

  7. Assessing the predictability of a coupled climate-ice sheet model system for the response of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adalgeirsdottir, G.; Stendel, M.; Bueler, E.; Christensen, J. H.; Drews, M.; Mottram, R.

    2009-04-01

    The wild card for reliable sea level rise prediction is the contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet. There is an urgent need to determine the predictability of models that simulate the response of Greenland Ice Sheet to rising temperatures and the amount of freshwater flux that can be expected into the ocean. Modelling efforts have been limited by poorly known boundary and initial conditions, low resolution and lack of presentation of fast flowing ice streams. We address these limitations by building a model system consisting of a high resolution regional climate model (HIRHAM4), that has been run for the period 1950-2080 at 25 km, and Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM), which simulates spatially and temporally varying ice streams by combining the solutions of the Shallow Shelf and Shallow Ice Approximations. The surface mass balance is simulated with a positive-degree-day method. The important and poorly constrained model component is the past climate forcing, which serves the purpose of initializing the model by simulating the present ice sheet and observed rate of mass changes. Simulated gradients of mass loss due to warming trends of past decade and prediction for the future are presented as well as estimated sensitivities due to the various model component uncertainties.

  8. Assessing the contribution of internal climate variability to anthropogenic changes in ice sheet volume

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, Chii-Yun; Forest, Chris E.; Pollard, David

    2017-06-01

    Understanding ice sheet response to different sources of uncertainty in projecting the climate is essential for assessing long-term risk of sea level rise (SLR). The impact of uncertainty caused by internal climate variability (ICV) on future ice sheet changes has not been assessed explicitly. Here we estimate how ICV affects ice sheet projections using a three-dimensional ice sheet model driven by climate fields from two large ensembles of climate model simulations differing in initial climate states. We find that ICV causes approximately 2 mm uncertainty in the estimated SLR due to Greenland ice sheet mass loss during 1992-2011, which is nearly double the observational uncertainty. Additionally, SLR differences due to ICV are about 17% of the mean total change of SLR in 2100. This study highlights a critical need to assess uncertainties of projecting ice sheet loss due to ICV to obtain robust estimates of both historical and future SLR.

  9. Understanding Greenland Ice Sheet Runoff Losses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rennermalm, A. K.; Tedesco, M.; Smith, L. C.; Pitcher, L. H.; Mote, T. L.; Yager, P. L.; Moustafa, S.; Cooper, M. G.; van As, D.; Hasholt, B.; Mikkelsen, A. B.

    2016-12-01

    One of the main ways the ice sheet loses mass is by meltwater runoff. Because of Greenland's great size, regional surface mass balance models are key to understanding large-scale runoff patterns and trends. At the same time, remote sensing and field observations reveal a complex hydrological system on the ice sheet's surface that are not well captured by these models. Yet, understanding the fate and impact of the meltwater on the ocean depends on knowing these temporal and spatial details. Unusually thick, near surface, ice lenses found in firn cores, most likely formed during very large recent melt events signify meltwater refreezing, but may also prevent further infiltration while facilitating runoff. Maps derived from remote sensing show how this runoff flows through an extensive network of supraglacial streams and lakes before it drains into the ice via moulins. Observations of discharge on the ice sheet surface and its margin provide evidence of runoff delays and retention before it is exported to the surrounding oceans. Here, trends and spatial patterns in ice sheet runoff will be examined by using model outputs from the regional surface mass balance model Modèle Atmosphérique Régional and compared with recent remotely sensed and field observations.

  10. Ice sheets on plastically-yielding beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Ian

    2016-11-01

    Many fast flowing regions of ice sheets are underlain by a layer of water-saturated sediments, or till. The rheology of the till has been the subject of some controversy, with laboratory tests suggesting almost perfectly plastic behaviour (stress independent of strain rate), but many models adopting a pseudo-viscous description. In this work, we consider the behaviour of glaciers underlain by a plastic bed. The ice is treated as a viscous gravity current, on a bed that allows unconstrained slip above a critical yield stress. This simplified description allows rapid sliding, and aims to investigate 'worst-case' scenarios of possible ice-sheet disintegration. The plastic bed results in an approximate ice-sheet geometry that is primarily controlled by force balance, whilst ice velocity is determined from mass conservation (rather than the other way around, as standard models would hold). The stability of various states is considered, and particular attention is given to the pace at which transitions between unstable states can occur. Finally, we observe that the strength of basal tills depends strongly on pore pressure, and combine the model with a description of subglacial hydrology. Implications for the present-day ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will be discussed. Funding: ERC Marie Curie FP7 Career Integration Grant.

  11. Active volcanism beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet and implications for ice-sheet stability

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blankenship, D.D.; Bell, R.E.; Hodge, S.M.; Brozena, J.M.; Behrendt, John C.; Finn, C.A.

    1993-01-01

    IT is widely understood that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) would cause a global sea level rise of 6 m, yet there continues to be considerable debate about the detailed response of this ice sheet to climate change1-3. Because its bed is grounded well below sea level, the stability of the WAIS may depend on geologically controlled conditions at the base which are independent of climate. In particular, heat supplied to the base of the ice sheet could increase basal melting and thereby trigger ice streaming, by providing the water for a lubricating basal layer of till on which ice streams are thought to slide4,5. Ice streams act to protect the reservoir of slowly moving inland ice from exposure to oceanic degradation, thus enhancing ice-sheet stability. Here we present aerogeophysical evidence for active volcanism and associated elevated heat flow beneath the WAIS near the critical region where ice streaming begins. If this heat flow is indeed controlling ice-stream formation, then penetration of ocean waters inland of the thin hot crust of the active portion of the West Antarctic rift system could lead to the disappearance of ice streams, and possibly trigger a collapse of the inland ice reservoir.

  12. Ice Thicknesses and Driving Stresses of Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. J.; Saba, J.; Giovinetto, M.

    1999-01-01

    Surface elevations from satellite radar altimetry (Geosat, Seasat, and ERS-1) and bedrock topography from airborne radar sounding (Simon Ekholm's Danish compilation) are combined to derive maps of the driving stresses in the Greenland ice sheet. The stress vector, tau = rho g h sin(alpha), is calculated using surface slope vectors, alpha, from surface elevations and ice thicknesses, h, from the difference between surface and basal elevations. Since the 5-km scale of the surface slope is only about 2 times the ice thickness, the stress maps show spatial variations indicative of longitudinal stress gradients associated with topographic undulations. Values of alpha generally vary from near zero at the ice divides to maxima values around 120 kpa, returning to near zero in a narrow band at the edges. The distribution of alpha's peaks at 60 kpa with an approximate sigma of +/- 20 kpa. Areas of very low alpha near the origin of the northeast ice stream may indicate small sub-glacial lakes. The profile of alpha, down the ice stream from near the ice divide, increases to a maximum of about 120 kpa near the margin, which is characteristic of East Antarctic outlet glaciers and in contrast to West Antarctic ice streams where alpha has maximum values 400 to 500 km inland from the grounding lines. Overall distributions of alpha values are compared with those for the Antarctic ice sheet and the Mars Northern ice cap.

  13. Ice Sheet Roughness Estimation Based on Impulse Responses Acquired in the Global Ice Sheet Mapping Orbiter Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niamsuwan, N.; Johnson, J. T.; Jezek, K. C.; Gogineni, P.

    2008-12-01

    The Global Ice Sheet Mapping Orbiter (GISMO) mission was developed to address scientific needs to understand the polar ice subsurface structure. This NASA Instrument Incubator Program project is a collaboration between Ohio State University, the University of Kansas, Vexcel Corporation and NASA. The GISMO design utilizes an interferometric SAR (InSAR) strategy in which ice sheet reflected signals received by a dual-antenna system are used to produce an interference pattern. The resulting interferogram can be used to filter out surface clutter so as to reveal the signals scattered from the base of the ice sheet. These signals are further processed to produce 3D-images representing basal topography of the ice sheet. In the past three years, the GISMO airborne field campaigns that have been conducted provide a set of useful data for studying geophysical properties of the Greenland ice sheet. While topography information can be obtained using interferometric SAR processing techniques, ice sheet roughness statistics can also be derived by a relatively simple procedure that involves analyzing power levels and the shape of the radar impulse response waveforms. An electromagnetic scattering model describing GISMO impulse responses has previously been proposed and validated. This model suggested that rms-heights and correlation lengths of the upper surface profile can be determined from the peak power and the decay rate of the pulse return waveform, respectively. This presentation will demonstrate a procedure for estimating the roughness of ice surfaces by fitting the GISMO impulse response model to retrieved waveforms from selected GISMO flights. Furthermore, an extension of this procedure to estimate the scattering coefficient of the glacier bed will be addressed as well. Planned future applications involving the classification of glacier bed conditions based on the derived scattering coefficients will also be described.

  14. Leakage of the Greenland Ice Sheet through accelerated ice flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E.

    2005-12-01

    A map of coastal velocities of the Greenland ice sheet was produced from Radarsat-1 acquired during the background mission of 2000 and combined with radio echo sounding data to estimate the ice discharge from the ice sheet. On individual glaciers, ice discharge was compared with snow input from the interior and melt above the flux gate to determine the glacier mass balance. Time series of velocities on several glaciers at different latitudes reveal seasonal fluctuations of only 7-8 percent so that winter velocities are only 2 percent less than the yearly mean. The results show the northern Greenland glaciers to be close to balance yet losing mass. No change in ice flow is detected on Petermann, 79north and Zachariae Isstrom in 2000-2004. East Greenland glaciers are in balance and flowing steadily north of Kangerdlussuaq, but Kangerdlussuaq, Helheim and all the southeastern glaciers are thinning dramatically. All these glaciers accelerated, Kangerdlussuaq in 2000, Helheim prior to 2004, and southeast Greenland glaciers accelerated 10 to 50 percent in 2000-2004. Glacier acceleration is generally brutal, probably once the glacier reached a threshold, and sustained. In the northwest, most glaciers are largely out of balance. Jakobshavn accelerated significantly in 2002, and glaciers in its immediate vicinity accelerated more than 50 percent in 2000-2004. Less is known about southwest Greenland glaciers due to a lack of ice thickness data but the glaciers have accelerated there as well and are likely to be strongly out of balance despite thickening of the interior. Overall, I estimate the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet to be about -80 +/-10 cubic km of ice per year in 2000 and -110 +/-15 cubic km of ice per year in 2004, i.e. more negative than based on partial altimetry surveys of the outlet glaciers. As climate continues to warm, more glaciers will accelerate, and the mass balance will become increasingly negative, regardless of the evolution of the ice sheet

  15. Simulating the Antarctic ice sheet in the Late-Pliocene warm period: PLISMIP-ANT, an ice-sheet model intercomparison project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Boer, Bas; Dolan, Aisling M.; Hill, Daniel J.; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.

    2014-05-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals in Earth history is of fundamental importance. The Late-Pliocene Warm Period (also known as the PRISM interval: 3.29 to 2.97 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates, with a global annual mean surface-air temperature warming of 1.76 °C. Although Pliocene ice locations and surface extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from Greenland and West and, possibly, East Antarctica based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions. Here, we present results from simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet by means of an international Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project (PLISMIP-ANT). We include an overview of the different ice-sheet models used and how specific model configurations influence the resulting Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet. For the experiments, ice-sheet models including the shallow ice and shelf approximations have been used to simulate the complete Antarctic domain (including grounded and floating ice). We compare the performance of the ice-sheet models in simulating modern control and Pliocene ice sheets by a suite of sensitivity experiments. Ice-sheet model forcing fields are taken from the PlioMIP results incorporating multiple coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCM). We show that ice-sheet models simulate a present-day ice sheet which is comparable to the observations, and find no systematic biases introduced when using different GCM forcing relative to observational climate forcing. This project includes multiple ice-sheet models forced with multiple climate model output, from which a comprehensive assessment can be made as to the uncertainties of ice-sheet extent on Antarctica. These results may eventually serve as a new constraint on the extent of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Late-Pliocene Warm Period

  16. Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naish, T.; Powell, R.; Levy, R.; Wilson, G.; Scherer, R.; Talarico, F.; Krissek, L.; Niessen, F.; Pompilio, M.; Wilson, T.; Carter, L.; DeConto, R.; Huybers, P.; McKay, R.; Pollard, D.; Ross, J.; Winter, D.; Barrett, P.; Browne, G.; Cody, R.; Cowan, E.; Crampton, J.; Dunbar, G.; Dunbar, N.; Florindo, F.; Gebhardt, C.; Graham, I.; Hannah, M.; Hansaraj, D.; Harwood, D.; Helling, D.; Henrys, S.; Hinnov, L.; Kuhn, G.; Kyle, P.; Laufer, A.; Maffioli, P.; Magens, D.; Mandernack, K.; McIntosh, W.; Millan, C.; Morin, R.; Ohneiser, C.; Paulsen, T.; Persico, D.; Raine, I.; Reed, J.; Riesselman, C.; Sagnotti, L.; Schmitt, D.; Sjunneskog, C.; Strong, P.; Taviani, M.; Vogel, S.; Wilch, T.; Williams, T.

    2009-01-01

    Thirty years after oxygen isotope records from microfossils deposited in ocean sediments confirmed the hypothesis that variations in the Earth's orbital geometry control the ice ages1, fundamental questions remain over the response of the Antarctic ice sheets to orbital cycles2. Furthermore, an understanding of the behaviour of the marine-based West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) during the 'warmer-than-present' early-Pliocene epoch (5–3 Myr ago) is needed to better constrain the possible range of ice-sheet behaviour in the context of future global warming3. Here we present a marine glacial record from the upper 600 m of the AND-1B sediment core recovered from beneath the northwest part of the Ross ice shelf by the ANDRILL programme and demonstrate well-dated, 40-kyr cyclic variations in ice-sheet extent linked to cycles in insolation influenced by changes in the Earth's axial tilt (obliquity) during the Pliocene. Our data provide direct evidence for orbitally induced oscillations in the WAIS, which periodically collapsed, resulting in a switch from grounded ice, or ice shelves, to open waters in the Ross embayment when planetary temperatures were up to 3 °C warmer than today4 and atmospheric CO2 concentration was as high as 400 p.p.m.v. (refs 5, 6). The evidence is consistent with a new ice-sheet/ice-shelf model7 that simulates fluctuations in Antarctic ice volume of up to +7 m in equivalent sea level associated with the loss of the WAIS and up to +3 m in equivalent sea level from the East Antarctic ice sheet, in response to ocean-induced melting paced by obliquity. During interglacial times, diatomaceous sediments indicate high surface-water productivity, minimal summer sea ice and air temperatures above freezing, suggesting an additional influence of surface melt8 under conditions of elevated CO2.

  17. Ice sheet systems and sea level change.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rignot, E. J.

    2015-12-01

    Modern views of ice sheets provided by satellites, airborne surveys, in situ data and paleoclimate records while transformative of glaciology have not fundamentally changed concerns about ice sheet stability and collapse that emerged in the 1970's. Motivated by the desire to learn more about ice sheets using new technologies, we stumbled on an unexplored field of science and witnessed surprising changes before realizing that most were coming too fast, soon and large. Ice sheets are integrant part of the Earth system; they interact vigorously with the atmosphere and the oceans, yet most of this interaction is not part of current global climate models. Since we have never witnessed the collapse of a marine ice sheet, observations and exploration remain critical sentinels. At present, these observations suggest that Antarctica and Greenland have been launched into a path of multi-meter sea level rise caused by rapid climate warming. While the current loss of ice sheet mass to the ocean remains a trickle, every mm of sea level change will take centuries of climate reversal to get back, several major marine-terminating sectors have been pushed out of equilibrium, and ice shelves are irremediably being lost. As glaciers retreat from their salty, warm, oceanic margins, they will melt away and retreat slower, but concerns remain about sea level change from vastly marine-based sectors: 2-m sea level equivalent in Greenland and 23-m in Antarctica. Significant changes affect 2/4 marine-based sectors in Greenland - Jakobshavn Isb. and the northeast stream - with Petermann Gl. not far behind. Major changes have affected the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica since the 1980s. Smaller yet significant changes affect the marine-based Wilkes Land sector of East Antarctica, a reminder that not all marine-based ice is in West Antarctica. Major advances in reducing uncertainties in sea level projections will require massive, interdisciplinary efforts that are not currently in place

  18. Using the level set method to track ice sheet boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindsey, D. S.; Dupont, T. K.

    2009-12-01

    Simulating ice-sheet volume changes requires tracking the interface of ice and its surrounding media, e.g. water, air, and sediment or rock. This can be challenging when using a fixed, or Eulerian, grid and allowing the interface to move via kinematic boundary conditions. For example, the interface may fall between grid points at a given point in time, making the application of boundary conditions less than straightforward. The level set method of Osher and Sethian (1988) offers an alternative approach, wherein a continuous level set function evolves within the domain via the combined kinematics of ice and its encompassing materials. The methods true strength lies in tracking the interface of two materials through time. Pralong and Funk (2004) applied this method to the movement of a glacier’s ice/air interface, offering a glimpse of the potential of this method for glaciology. Here we perform a simple preliminary test of the method for a two-dimensional (flow-line) model of an ice shelf, comparing the results to analytic approximations of the movement of both the ice/air interface and the ice front. Future experiments will incorporate grounded ice and include basal and lateral-shear stresses. The ultimate goal of this work is provide a practical approach for two and three-dimensional ice-sheet models to naturally track their moving boundaries.

  19. Measuring Ice Sheet Height with ICESat-2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walsh, K.; Smith, B.; Neumann, T.; Hancock, D.

    2015-12-01

    ICESat-2 is NASA's next-generation laser altimeter, designed to measure changes in ice sheet height and sea ice freeboard. Over the ice sheets, it will use a continuous repeat-track pointing strategy to ensure that it accurately measures elevation changes along a set of reference tracks. Over most of the area of Earth's ice sheets, ICESat-2 will provide coverage with a track-to-track spacing better than ~3 km. The onboard ATLAS instrument will use a photon-counting approach to provide a global geolocated photon point cloud, which is then converted into surface-specific elevation data sets. In this presentation, we will outline our strategy for taking the low-level photon point cloud and turning it into measurements posted at 20 m along-track for a set of pre-defined reference points by (1) selecting groups of photon events (PEs) around each along-track point, (2) refining the initial PE selection by fitting selected PEs with an along-track segment model and eliminating outliers to the model, (3) applying histogram-based corrections to the surface height based on the residuals to the along-track segment model, (4) calculate error estimates based on estimates of relative contributions of signal and noise PEs to the observed PE count, and (5) determining the final location and surface height of the along-track segment. These measurements are then corrected for short-scale (100-200 m) across-track surface topography around the reference points to develop a time series of land ice heights. The resulting data products will allow us to measure ice sheet elevation change with a point-for-point accuracy of a few centimeters over Earth's ice sheets.

  20. Studies of ice sheet hydrology using SAR

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R. A.; Vornberger, P. L.

    1989-01-01

    Analysis of SAR data of the Greenland ice sheet in summer and winter suggest the use of SAR to monitor the temporal hydrology of ice sheets. Comparisons of each SAR data set with summer Landsat TM imagery show an areal-positive correlation with summer SAR data and a negative correlation with winter SAR data. It is proposed that the summer SAR data are most sensitive to the variable concentrations of free water in the surface snow and that the winter SAR data indicate variations in snow grain size.

  1. Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Balance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reeh, N.

    1984-01-01

    Mass balance equation for glaciers; areal distribution and ice volumes; estimates of actual mass balance; loss by calving of icebergs; hydrological budget for Greenland; and temporal variations of Greenland mass balance are examined.

  2. Bedforms of the Keewatin Ice Sheet, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aylsworth, J. M.; Shilts, W. W.

    1989-05-01

    By compiling glacial bedforms on a map that covers most of one sector of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, it is possible to make some suggestions about their genesis based largely on spatial relationships. It can be concluded that drumlins and ribbed moraine form at the base of actively flowing ice under similar dynamic conditions. For either landform to exist, however, there must have been enough sediment available in the base of the glacier to leave or form a feature large enough to be recognizable. The presence or absence of sufficient load is related to the geology of the glacier bed and has little to do with regionally changing dynamics of the ice-water system. Likewise, given sufficient load, it is evident that whether drumlins formed or whether ribbed moraine formed in a certain area is a function of the physical nature of the load which is, again, related to geology of the source outcrops. Whether the physical characteristics come into play after the sediment has been released from the ice and is being reshaped by basal drag, streamlining, etc., or whether the nature of the load while entrained changes the behaviour of the basal part of the ice is unclear. Physical characteristics of the basal sediment load have apparently promoted internal thrusting of coherent slabs of entrained debris and ice to form ribbed moraine on melting, whereas drumlins may reflect moulding of plastic subglacial debris or erosional streamlining of both the unconsolidated glacial substrate and bedrock. The observation that many eskers cross drumlin fields at nearly right angles to their orientation suggests that conditions producing streamlining and those pertaining to subglacial drainage are separated in time and circumstance. The general occurrence of drumlins and eskers throughout the sediment-rich portions of the Keewatin Ice Sheet, from Zone 1 to its edge, is difficult to reconcile with the restriction and intimate association of these forms with ribbed moraine almost exclusively in

  3. Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves.

    PubMed

    Pritchard, H D; Ligtenberg, S R M; Fricker, H A; Vaughan, D G; van den Broeke, M R; Padman, L

    2012-04-25

    Accurate prediction of global sea-level rise requires that we understand the cause of recent, widespread and intensifying glacier acceleration along Antarctic ice-sheet coastal margins. Atmospheric and oceanic forcing have the potential to reduce the thickness and extent of floating ice shelves, potentially limiting their ability to buttress the flow of grounded tributary glaciers. Indeed, recent ice-shelf collapse led to retreat and acceleration of several glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula. But the extent and magnitude of ice-shelf thickness change, the underlying causes of such change, and its link to glacier flow rate are so poorly understood that its future impact on the ice sheets cannot yet be predicted. Here we use satellite laser altimetry and modelling of the surface firn layer to reveal the circum-Antarctic pattern of ice-shelf thinning through increased basal melt. We deduce that this increased melt is the primary control of Antarctic ice-sheet loss, through a reduction in buttressing of the adjacent ice sheet leading to accelerated glacier flow. The highest thinning rates occur where warm water at depth can access thick ice shelves via submarine troughs crossing the continental shelf. Wind forcing could explain the dominant patterns of both basal melting and the surface melting and collapse of Antarctic ice shelves, through ocean upwelling in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas, and atmospheric warming on the Antarctic Peninsula. This implies that climate forcing through changing winds influences Antarctic ice-sheet mass balance, and hence global sea level, on annual to decadal timescales.

  4. Climate Model Dependency in Understanding the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Warm Late Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolan, A. M.; de Boer, B.; Bernales, J.; Hunter, S. J.; Haywood, A.

    2015-12-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals of Earth history is fundamentally important. A warm period in the Late Pliocene (3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions and geological evidence Following a five year international project PLISMIP (Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project) we present the final set of results which quantify uncertainty in climate model-based predictions of the Antarctic ice sheet. In this study we use an ensemble of climate model forcings within a multi-ice sheet model framework to assess the climate (model) dependency of large scale features of the Antarctic ice sheet. Seven coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models are used to derive surface temperature, precipitation and oceanic forcing that drive three ice sheet models (over the grounded and floating domain). Similar to results presented over Greenland, we show that the reconstruction of the Antarctic ice sheet is sensitive to which climate model is used to provide the forcing field. Key areas of uncertainty include West Antarctica, the large subglacial basins of East Antarctica and the overall thickness of the continental interior of East Antarctica. We relate the results back to geological proxy data, such as those relating to exposure rates which provide information on potential ice sheet thickness. Finally we discuss as to whether the choice of modelling framework (i.e. climate model and ice sheet model used) or the choice of boundary conditions causes the greatest uncertainty in ice sheet reconstructions of the warm Pliocene.

  5. Climate Model Dependency and Understanding the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Warm Late Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolan, Aisling; de Boer, Bas; Bernales, Jorge; Hunter, Stephen; Haywood, Alan

    2016-04-01

    In the context of future climate change, understanding the nature and behaviour of ice sheets during warm intervals of Earth history is fundamentally important. A warm period in the Late Pliocene (3.264 to 3.025 million years before present) can serve as a potential analogue for projected future climates. Although Pliocene ice locations and extents are still poorly constrained, a significant contribution to sea-level rise should be expected from both the Greenland ice sheet and the West and East Antarctic ice sheets based on palaeo sea-level reconstructions and geological evidence. Following a five year international project PLISMIP (Pliocene Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project) we present the final set of results which quantify uncertainty in climate model-based predictions of the Antarctic ice sheet. In this study we use an ensemble of climate model forcings within a multi-ice sheet model framework to assess the climate (model) dependency of large scale features of the Antarctic ice sheet. Seven coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models are used to derive surface temperature, precipitation and oceanic forcing that drive three ice sheet models (over the grounded and floating domain). Similar to results presented over Greenland, we show that the reconstruction of the Antarctic ice sheet is sensitive to which climate model is used to provide the forcing field. Key areas of uncertainty include West Antarctica, the large subglacial basins of East Antarctica and the overall thickness of the continental interior of East Antarctica. We relate the results back to geological proxy data, such as those relating to exposure rates which provide information on potential ice sheet thickness. Finally we discuss as to whether the choice of modelling framework (i.e. climate model and ice sheet model used) or the choice of boundary conditions causes the greatest uncertainty in ice sheet reconstructions of the warm Pliocene.

  6. Holocene thinning of the Greenland ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Vinther, B M; Buchardt, S L; Clausen, H B; Dahl-Jensen, D; Johnsen, S J; Fisher, D A; Koerner, R M; Raynaud, D; Lipenkov, V; Andersen, K K; Blunier, T; Rasmussen, S O; Steffensen, J P; Svensson, A M

    2009-09-17

    On entering an era of global warming, the stability of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) is an important concern, especially in the light of new evidence of rapidly changing flow and melt conditions at the GIS margins. Studying the response of the GIS to past climatic change may help to advance our understanding of GIS dynamics. The previous interpretation of evidence from stable isotopes (delta(18)O) in water from GIS ice cores was that Holocene climate variability on the GIS differed spatially and that a consistent Holocene climate optimum-the unusually warm period from about 9,000 to 6,000 years ago found in many northern-latitude palaeoclimate records-did not exist. Here we extract both the Greenland Holocene temperature history and the evolution of GIS surface elevation at four GIS locations. We achieve this by comparing delta(18)O from GIS ice cores with delta(18)O from ice cores from small marginal icecaps. Contrary to the earlier interpretation of delta(18)O evidence from ice cores, our new temperature history reveals a pronounced Holocene climatic optimum in Greenland coinciding with maximum thinning near the GIS margins. Our delta(18)O-based results are corroborated by the air content of ice cores, a proxy for surface elevation. State-of-the-art ice sheet models are generally found to be underestimating the extent and changes in GIS elevation and area; our findings may help to improve the ability of models to reproduce the GIS response to Holocene climate.

  7. Preservation of landforms under ice sheets and ice caps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kleman, Johan

    1994-02-01

    This article addresses the question of whether or not distinct glacial and non-glacial landforms can survive beneath ice sheets and ice caps with little or no morphological alteration. A review of recent work documents the existence of pre-last stadial landforms and landscapes in areas covered by the Fennoscandian and Laurentide ice sheets. A substantial number of independent works indicate that landforms such as eskers, drainage channels and boulder fields have escaped destruction despite complete ice overriding during several tens of millenia. Full preservation of former ground surfaces or delicate landforms probably is linked to areas where the ice-sheet base was continuously frozen to its bed. Larger "robust" landforms, such as large drumlins, appear to have been preserved even under wet-based conditions. In glaciated areas, patches preserved under dry (cold)-based conditions provide important windows towards the past, showing landscapes that were destroyed in surrounding areas affected by wet-based and eroding ice. Some consequences for the research fields of non-glacial geomorphology, archaeology and botany include the possibility of subglacial museums and refugia. A time/ space model describes geomorphological access to information from older events in glaciated areas.

  8. Is the Antarctic ice sheet growing?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jacobs, S. S.

    1992-01-01

    A brief review is presented of recent observations of surface accumulation on Antarctica. It is concluded that it is as yet too early to say with confidence whether the ice sheet has recently been growing or shrinking, given the variability in accumulation pattern and the larger uncertainties in melting and calving.

  9. Satellite remote sensing for ice sheet research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, R. H.; omplexity of the land cover and land use p; omplexity of the land cover and land use p

    1985-01-01

    Potential research applications of satellite data over the terrestrial ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are assessed and actions required to ensure acquisition of relevant data and appropriate processing to a form suitable for research purposes are recommended. Relevant data include high-resolution visible and SAR imagery, infrared, passive-microwave and scatterometer measurements, and surface topography information from laser and radar altimeters.

  10. Mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Wingham, D J; Shepherd, A; Muir, A; Marshall, G J

    2006-07-15

    The Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise has long been uncertain. While regional variability in ice dynamics has been revealed, a picture of mass changes throughout the continental ice sheet is lacking. Here, we use satellite radar altimetry to measure the elevation change of 72% of the grounded ice sheet during the period 1992-2003. Depending on the density of the snow giving rise to the observed elevation fluctuations, the ice sheet mass trend falls in the range -5-+85Gtyr-1. We find that data from climate model reanalyses are not able to characterise the contemporary snowfall fluctuation with useful accuracy and our best estimate of the overall mass trend-growth of 27+/-29Gtyr-1-is based on an assessment of the expected snowfall variability. Mass gains from accumulating snow, particularly on the Antarctic Peninsula and within East Antarctica, exceed the ice dynamic mass loss from West Antarctica. The result exacerbates the difficulty of explaining twentieth century sea-level rise.

  11. A Pluridisciplinary Study of the Impact of Future Ice Sheets Instability on Sea Level Rise, Climate Changes, Migrations and Energy Supply

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramstein, G.; Defrance, D.; Dumas, C.; Charbit, S.; Gemenne, F.; Vanderlinden, J. P.; Bouneau, S.; David, S.

    2014-12-01

    From paleoclimate data and GCM models simulations, we learnt that, when ice sheets are unstable, they produce large surges of icebergs that cover North Atlantic and produce global climate instability through atmosphere and ocean dynamics. Indeed, these instabilities are associated with a cold (glacial) context. In a warming world, it appears that the two remaining ice sheets (Antarctica and Greenland) are becoming unstable. The probability of abrupt ice sheet changes is therefore to be investigated. In comparison with predicted AR5 sea level rise (SLR) (28 to 82 cm), such a fast melting could add a contribution of 2 to 5 meters, which corresponds to the sea level rise estimate of glacial instability (Heinrich events). The aim of this presentation is to describe consistent sea level and climate simulations. We define 3 scenarios, the sea level rise is produced by the melting of about third of the Greenland, or the disappearance of West Antarctica, or finally a mixture of both ice sheets melting. We first analyze, using IPSL OAGCM, the climatic impact. Indeed, superimposed to direct sea level rise, climate changes has drastic consequences in North Atlantic (Europe and east of North America) due to the thermohaline circulation breakdown. Moreover, when freshwater is injected into North Atlantic, far field effects on the location and amplitude of Asian Monsoon have been shown with its drastic decrease. The second step of this multidisciplinary study is to quantify the impact of the sea level rise and the climatic changes on populations migration, with a focus on Southern Asia with a prospective migration of several hundreds of people. In a third step, we intend to simulate the reorganization of power supply to adapt to the expected new distribution of population, using a quantitative energy model (COSIME). Here, we show the climate response to the 3 investigated climate scenarios and the response in terms of migration, which is huge due to the very large part of the

  12. Shallow ice approximation, second order shallow ice approximation, and full Stokes models: A discussion of their roles in palaeo-ice sheet modelling and development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirchner, N.; Ahlkrona, J.; Gowan, E. J.; Lötstedt, P.; Lea, J. M.; Noormets, R.; von Sydow, L.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Benham, T.

    2016-09-01

    Full Stokes ice sheet models provide the most accurate description of ice sheet flow, and can therefore be used to reduce existing uncertainties in predicting the contribution of ice sheets to future sea level rise on centennial time-scales. The level of accuracy at which millennial time-scale palaeo-ice sheet simulations resolve ice sheet flow lags the standards set by Full Stokes models, especially, when Shallow Ice Approximation (SIA) models are used. Most models used in paleo-ice sheet modeling were developed at a time when computer power was very limited, and rely on several assumptions. At the time there was no means of verifying the assumptions by other than mathematical arguments. However, with the computer power and refined Full Stokes models available today, it is possible to test these assumptions numerically. In this paper, we review (Ahlkrona et al., 2013a) where such tests were performed and inaccuracies in commonly used arguments were found. We also summarize (Ahlkrona et al., 2013b) where the implications of the inaccurate assumptions are analyzed for two paleo-models - the SIA and the SOSIA. We review these works without resorting to mathematical detail, in order to make them accessible to a wider audience with a general interest in palaeo-ice sheet modelling. Specifically, we discuss two implications of relevance for palaeo-ice sheet modelling. First, classical SIA models are less accurate than assumed in their original derivation. Secondly, and contrary to previous recommendations, the SOSIA model is ruled out as a practicable tool for palaeo-ice sheet simulations. We conclude with an outlook concerning the new Ice Sheet Coupled Approximation Level (ISCAL) method presented in Ahlkrona et al. (2016), that has the potential to match the accuracy standards of full Stokes model on palaeo-timescales of tens of thousands of years, and to become an alternative to hybrid models currently used in palaeo-ice sheet modelling. The method is applied to an ice

  13. Modelling the long-term impact of surface warming on Greenland ice sheet mass loss

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Shuting; Anker Pedersen, Rasmus; Madsen, Marianne S.; Svendsen, Synne H.; Langen, Peter L.

    2017-04-01

    Projections of future sea level changes require understanding of the response of the Greenland ice sheet to future climate change. Numerous feedbacks between the ice sheet and the climate system mean that comprehensive model setups are required to simulate the concurrent ice sheet and climate changes. Here, the ice sheet response to a warming climate has been studied using a model setup consisting of an earth system model (EC-Earth) interactively coupled to an ice sheet model (PISM). The coupled system has been employed for a 1400-year simulation forced by historical radiative forcing from 1850 onward continued along an extended RCP8.5 scenario to beyond year 3200. The simulation reveals that the rate of mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet increases substantially after 2100. The mass loss hereafter continues at a steady rate, even as the warming rate gradually levels off. As the coupled setup does not include the direct impact of oceanic forcing, the mass loss is due to the combination of a negative surface mass balance and a dynamic response to the surface warming. Increased melt exceeds regional precipitation increases in the surface mass balance, while the surface warming increases the enthalpy (per unit volume) of the ice sheet potentially impacting the rheology and thereby the ice flow. The relative roles of the surface mass balance changes and the dynamic response of the ice flow are further investigated using additional ice sheet model sensitivity experiments, where the ice sheet is forced by the time-varying surface mass balance from the coupled model. We aim to quantify the impact of the simulated surface warming on the ice flow by means of a hybrid simulation where the ice sheet is forced by the surface mass balance from the coupled setup while keeping the ice surface temperature constant. This allows for assessment of the impact of the surface mass balance change, isolated from the dynamical response to the warming surface.

  14. Onset of Major Antarctic Ice-Sheet Retreat Driven by Extensive Surface Melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deconto, R. M.; Pollard, D.

    2016-12-01

    New Antarctic ice-sheet modeling that considers previously underappreciated effects of surface meltwater on ice-sheet dynamics has demonstrated the sensitivity of the ice sheet to atmospheric warming in addition to sub-ice oceanic warming. Here, we improve on our paleo-calibrated modeling of future ice-sheet retreat, using a bias-corrected, high-resolution regional atmospheric model that synchronizes time-evolving atmospheric climatologies with the SSTs and subsurface ocean temperatures that drive oceanic sub-ice melt rates. This approach avoids previous assumptions about the lagged response of Southern Ocean SSTs and Antarctic air temperatures relative to future greenhouse-gas forcing and produces future Antarctic climatologies in better agreement with other recent studies. The specification of modern observed climate, used to apply anomaly corrections with our atmospheric model, is also improved by using a monthly climatology provided by the RACMO2 regional climate model. We find that predicted future rates and magnitudes of ice-sheet retreat and sea-level rise are similar to our previous simulations. However, the revised atmospheric forcing delays the timing of the onset of retreat, with potential implications for coastal planning and policy. These results show that the future onset of major Antarctic ice-sheet retreat will be highly dependent on the details of evolving Antarctic climate, which remains uncertain due to complex linkages with lower-latitude atmospheric dynamics, ocean-ice feedbacks, recovery of the ozone hole, and uncertain future greenhouse-gas forcing.

  15. Rapid Access Ice Drill: A New Tool for Exploration of the Deep Antarctic Ice Sheets and Subglacial Geology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodge, J. W.; Severinghaus, J. P.

    2014-12-01

    The Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) will penetrate the Antarctic ice sheets in order to core through deep ice, the glacial bed, and into bedrock below. This new technology will provide a critical first look at the interface between major ice caps and their subglacial geology. Currently in construction, RAID is a mobile drilling system capable of making several long boreholes in a single field season in Antarctica. RAID is interdisciplinary and will allow access to polar paleoclimate records in ice >1 Ma, direct observation at the base of the ice sheets, and recovery of rock cores from the ice-covered East Antarctic craton. RAID uses a diamond rock-coring system as in mineral exploration. Threaded drill-pipe with hardened metal bits will cut through ice using reverse circulation of Estisol for pressure-compensation, maintenance of temperature, and removal of ice cuttings. Near the bottom of the ice sheet, a wireline bottom-hole assembly will enable diamond coring of ice, the glacial bed, and bedrock below. Once complete, boreholes will be kept open with fluid, capped, and made available for future down-hole measurement of thermal gradient, heat flow, ice chronology, and ice deformation. RAID will also sample for extremophile microorganisms. RAID is designed to penetrate up to 3,300 meters of ice and take sample cores in less than 200 hours. This rapid performance will allow completion of a borehole in about 10 days before moving to the next drilling site. RAID is unique because it can provide fast borehole access through thick ice; take short ice cores for paleoclimate study; sample the glacial bed to determine ice-flow conditions; take cores of subglacial bedrock for age dating and crustal history; and create boreholes for use as an observatory in the ice sheets. Together, the rapid drilling capability and mobility of the drilling system, along with ice-penetrating imaging methods, will provide a unique 3D picture of the interior Antarctic ice sheets.

  16. Moulin distribution and formation on the southwest Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, V. W.; Smith, L. C.; Gleason, C. J.; Yang, K.; Poinar, K.; Joughin, I.; Pitcher, L. H.

    2015-12-01

    River moulins represent a significant connection between surface meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet and subglacial drainage networks, where increased meltwater can enhance ice sliding dynamics. In this study, a new high-resolution moulin map is created from WorldView-1/2 imagery acquired during the 2012 record melt year for a 12,500 km2 area near Russell Glacier in southwest Greenland. A total of 1,236 moulins are mapped and categorized as being located: in crevasse fields, along a single ice fracture, within drained lake basins, or having no visible formation mechanism. We find the presence of moulins up to 1787 m elevation, with 11% of moulins found above 1600 m elevation: higher than previously mapped moulins and where glaciological theory suggests few moulins should form. Our study observes moulins in both extensional and compressional ice flow regimes (28% of moulins are found in areas of high extensional strain rate >0.005 yr-1), suggesting that strain rates are not a strong indicator of the likelihood for moulin formation. Overall, moulin density tends to increase with higher bed elevation, thinner ice, lower surface slope, higher velocity, and higher strain rate. In sum, moulins are most common in crevassed, thinner ice near the ice sheet edge, but significant quantities also develop at high elevations. This indicates that future inland expansion of melting may create hydrologic connections between the surface and the bed at higher elevations than previously thought.

  17. Ice sheets promote speciation in boreal birds.

    PubMed

    Weir, Jason T; Schluter, Dolph

    2004-09-22

    The premise that Pleistocene ice ages played an important role in generating present-day species diversity has been challenged by genetic data indicating that most of the youngest terrestrial species on Earth coalesced long before major glacial advances. However, study has been biased towards faunas distributed at low latitudes that were not directly fragmented by advancing ice sheets. Using mitochondrial sequence divergence and a molecular clock, we compared the coalescence times of pairs of avian species belonging to superspecies complexes from the high-latitude boreal forest with those of sub-boreal and tropical avifaunas of the New World. Remarkably, all coalescence events in boreal superspecies date to the Pleistocene, providing direct evidence that speciation was commonly initiated during recent glacial periods. A pattern of endemism in boreal superspecies plausibly links the timing of divergence to the fragmentation of the boreal forest by ice sheets during the Mid- and Late Pleistocene. In contrast to the boreal superspecies, only 56% of sub-boreal and 46% of tropical superspecies members coalesced during the Pleistocene, suggesting that avifaunas directly fragmented by ice sheets experienced rapid rates of diversification, whereas those distributed farther south were affected to a lesser extent. One explanation for the absence of pre-Pleistocene superspecies in boreal avifaunas is that strong selection pressures operated in boreal refugia, causing superspecies members to achieve ecological differentiation at an accelerated rate.

  18. Ice sheets promote speciation in boreal birds.

    PubMed Central

    Weir, Jason T.; Schluter, Dolph

    2004-01-01

    The premise that Pleistocene ice ages played an important role in generating present-day species diversity has been challenged by genetic data indicating that most of the youngest terrestrial species on Earth coalesced long before major glacial advances. However, study has been biased towards faunas distributed at low latitudes that were not directly fragmented by advancing ice sheets. Using mitochondrial sequence divergence and a molecular clock, we compared the coalescence times of pairs of avian species belonging to superspecies complexes from the high-latitude boreal forest with those of sub-boreal and tropical avifaunas of the New World. Remarkably, all coalescence events in boreal superspecies date to the Pleistocene, providing direct evidence that speciation was commonly initiated during recent glacial periods. A pattern of endemism in boreal superspecies plausibly links the timing of divergence to the fragmentation of the boreal forest by ice sheets during the Mid- and Late Pleistocene. In contrast to the boreal superspecies, only 56% of sub-boreal and 46% of tropical superspecies members coalesced during the Pleistocene, suggesting that avifaunas directly fragmented by ice sheets experienced rapid rates of diversification, whereas those distributed farther south were affected to a lesser extent. One explanation for the absence of pre-Pleistocene superspecies in boreal avifaunas is that strong selection pressures operated in boreal refugia, causing superspecies members to achieve ecological differentiation at an accelerated rate. PMID:15347509

  19. A Synthesis of the Basal Thermal State of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macgregor, J. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Catania, G. A.; Aschwanden, A.; Clow, G. D.; Colgan, W. T.; Gogineni, S. P.; Morlighem, M.; Nowicki, S. M. J.; Paden, J. D.; hide

    2016-01-01

    Greenland's thick ice sheet insulates the bedrock below from the cold temperatures at the surface, so the bottom of the ice is often tens of degrees warmer than at the top, because the ice bottom is slowly warmed by heat coming from the Earth's depths. Knowing whether Greenland's ice lies on wet, slippery ground or is anchored to dry, frozen bedrock is essential for predicting how this ice will flow in the future. But scientists have very few direct observations of the thermal conditions beneath the ice sheet, obtained through fewer than two dozen boreholes that have reached the bottom. Our study synthesizes several independent methods to infer the Greenland Ice Sheet's basal thermal state -whether the bottom of the ice is melted or not-leading to the first map that identifies frozen and thawed areas across the whole ice sheet. This map will guide targets for future investigations of the Greenland Ice Sheet toward the most vulnerable and poorly understood regions, ultimately improving our understanding of its dynamics and contribution to future sea-level rise. It is of particular relevance to ongoing Operation IceBridge activities and future large-scale airborne missions over Greenland.

  20. Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project (ISMIP6) contribution to CMIP6

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowicki, Sophie M. J.; Payne, Anthony; Larour, Eric; Seroussi, Helene; Goelzer, Heiko; Lipscomb, William; Gregory, Jonathan; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Shepherd, Andrew

    2016-12-01

    Reducing the uncertainty in the past, present, and future contribution of ice sheets to sea-level change requires a coordinated effort between the climate and glaciology communities. The Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6) is the primary activity within the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project - phase 6 (CMIP6) focusing on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In this paper, we describe the framework for ISMIP6 and its relationship with other activities within CMIP6. The ISMIP6 experimental design relies on CMIP6 climate models and includes, for the first time within CMIP, coupled ice-sheet-climate models as well as standalone ice-sheet models. To facilitate analysis of the multi-model ensemble and to generate a set of standard climate inputs for standalone ice-sheet models, ISMIP6 defines a protocol for all variables related to ice sheets. ISMIP6 will provide a basis for investigating the feedbacks, impacts, and sea-level changes associated with dynamic ice sheets and for quantifying the uncertainty in ice-sheet-sourced global sea-level change.

  1. Coupled Ice Sheet and Basal Hydrology Regional Model for Dome A, East Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolovick, M.; Bell, R. E.; Buck, W. R.; Creyts, T. T.; Abdi, A.

    2011-12-01

    Interactions between an ice sheet and water at its base play an important role in ice sheet dynamics. In addition to causing slip, water accretes to the base of ice sheets, changing rheology and thus flow rate. Recent work (Bell et al, 2011) has shown that frozen-on basal ice can comprise as much as 50% of the ice sheet thickness. The addition of this volume of frozen-on ice affects the thermal budget by releasing latent heat, and requiring that an equal mass of ice melted upstream of the accretion site. Melt and accretion represent source and sink terms in the mass and energy conservation equations of the ice sheet coupled through a subglacial water layer. To investigate these interactions we have developed a coupled, time-dependent numerical model of ice sheet and basal hydrologic dynamics for the Dome A region of East Antarctica. The model uses the Shallow Ice Approximation (SIA) for ice flow with the temperature dependence of rheology and incorporates a full three-dimensional treatment of temperature advection and diffusion. Beneath the ice we incorporate three-dimensional temperature diffusion within the bedrock. The ice model is coupled to a dynamic basal hydrology model that includes both melt and freeze-on. Because water velocities can be much higher than ice velocities, the model uses asynchronous timestepping between the basal hydrology system and the ice system. We investigate whether basal accretion is a steady state or an episodic process and to constrain the rates of accretion. Preliminary results indicate that most of the major accretion sites can be reproduced in a steady state model, and that accretion rates are on the order of millimeters per year. In addition, we use the model to learn about mass and energy fluxes in ice sheet-bed interactions more generally. Future goals include using this model to invert for the accumulation rate and geothermal flux boundary conditions of the ice sheet.

  2. Ice Sheet Monitoring Using Latest Generation SAR Satellites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scheuchl, B.; Mouginot, J.; Rignot, E. J.; Li, X.

    2015-12-01

    Remote sensing is a crucial component to gain insight in the worlds ice sheets and glaciers. Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar data have proven to be a key resource to monitor the great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. International efforts undertaken during the last International Polar Year resulted in the collection of vast amounts of data to generate the first continent-wide ice velocity map of Antarctica, a series of full velocity maps of Greenland, and time series data in key regions. The Antarctic grounding line was also mapped at unprecedented accuracy using InSAR. The end of several SAR missions since 2010 has posed a significant challenge in the effort to provide ongoing data acquisitions. New generation missions show potential to not only fill the data gap, but to make the collection of ice sheet data part of the ongoing acquisition scenarios, therefore ensuring data continuity. New modes, like the TOPSAR mode used for Sentinel-1A, provide new opportunities but also pose processing challenges, particularly if the entire area monitored is in motion. Several future missions are in various stages of development, thus further adding to the suite of sensors potentially available to collect data in Polar Regions going forward. The NASA-ISRO L-and S-band mission, planned for launch in 2020, will be a pure science mission with an open data policy, thus again changing the data availability and data access situation for the better. In international collaboration through the Polar Space Task Group, space agencies coordinate their science acquisitions in Polar Regions. With broad input from the larger ice sheet science community, we have worked closely with space agencies to define science requirements and to develop acquisition scenarios that maximize science value for ice sheets. Here we highlight the collaboration effort, summarize the input of the ice sheet science community to the Polar Space Task Group, and present the acquisition plans that resulted

  3. Continuous broadband seismic observation on the Greenland Ice Sheet under Greenland Ice Sheet monitoring Network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuboi, S.; Kanao, M.; Tono, Y.; Himeno, T.; Toyokuni, G.; Childs, D.; Dahl-Jensen, T.; Anderson, K. R.

    2012-12-01

    The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN) is a new, international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland being implemented through the collaboration between Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and the USA. Glacial earthquakes have been observed along the edges of Greenland with strong seasonality and increasing frequency since 2002 (Ekström et al, 2003, 2006) by continuously monitoring data from the Global Seismographic Network (GSN). These glacial earthquakes in the magnitude range 4.6-5.1 may be modeled as a large glacial ice mass sliding downhill several meters on its basal surface over duration of 30 to 60 seconds. Glacial earthquakes have been observed at seismic stations within Greenland (Larsen et al, 2006), but the current coverage is very sparse. In order to define the fine structure and detailed mechanisms of glacial earthquakes within the Greenland Ice Sheet, a broadband, real-time seismic network needs to be installed throughout Greenland's Ice Sheet and perimeter. The National Institute for Polar Research and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology are members of GLISN project and have installed the ice sheet station, called ICE-S (DK.ICESG) in June, 2011 in collaboration with IRIS Polar Services. The station is equipped with a CMG-3T broadband seismometer and a Quanterra Q330 data logger. We have visited the station again in May, 2012 and successfully retrieved one year of continuous records from the broadband seismometer and updated the telemetry system to eventually allow real time monitoring of the station. The observed three component seismograms demonstrate that the quality of this ice sheet station is good enough to record not only local earthquakes around Greeland but also teleseismic earthquakes. We will show examples of seismograms recorded at ICE-S station and discuss some preliminary analyses using these seismograms.

  4. The Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, K. R.; Beaudoin, B. C.; Butler, R.; Clinton, J. F.; Dahl-Jensen, T.; Ekstrom, G.; Giardini, D.; Govoni, A.; Hanka, W.; Kanao, M.; Larsen, T.; Lasocki, S.; McCormack, D. A.; Mykkeltveit, S.; Nettles, M.; Agostinetti, N. P.; Stutzmann, E.; Tsuboi, S.; Voss, P.

    2010-12-01

    The GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN) is an international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland, being installed and implemented through the collaboration of Denmark, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and USA. GLISN is a real-time sensor array of seismic stations to enhance and upgrade the performance of the sparse Greenland seismic infrastructure for detecting, locating, and characterizing glacial earthquakes and other cryo-seismic phenomena, and contributing to our understanding of Ice Sheet dynamics. Complementing data from satellites, geodesy, and other sources, and in concert with these technologies, GLISN will provide a powerful tool for detecting change, and will advance new frontiers of research in the glacial systems; the underlying geological and geophysical processes affecting the Greenland Ice Sheet; interactions between oceans, climate, and the cryosphere; and other multidisciplinary areas of interest to geoscience and climate dynamics. The glacial processes that induce seismic events (internal deformation, sliding at the base, disintegration at the calving front, drainage of supra-glacial lakes) are all integral to the overall dynamics of glaciers, and seismic observations of glaciers therefore provide a quantitative means for monitoring changes in their behavior over time. Long-term seismic monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to identifying possible unsuspected mechanisms and metrics relevant to ice sheet collapse, and will provide new constraints on Ice Sheet dynamic processes and their potential roles in sea-level rise during the coming decades. GLISN will provide a new, fiducial reference network in and around Greenland for monitoring these phenomena in real-time, and for the broad seismological study of Earth and earthquakes. The 2010 summer field season saw the installation or upgrade of 9 stations in the GLISN network. Sites visited under the GLISN project include Station Nord (NOR

  5. Response of a marine ice sheet to changes at the grounding line

    SciTech Connect

    Van der Veen, C.J.

    1985-01-01

    A numerical model was designed to study the stability of a marine ice sheet, and used to do some basic experiments. The ice-shelf/ice-sheet interaction enters through the flow law in which the longitudinal stress is also taken into account. Instead of applying the model to some (measured) profile and showing that this is unstable (as is common practice in other studies), an attempt is made to simulate a whole cycle of growth and retreat of a marine ice sheet, although none of the model sheets is particularly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions. The question as to what might happen to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the near future when a climatic warming can be expected as a result of the CO/sub 2/ effect, seems to be open for discussion again. From the results presented in this paper one can infer that a collapse, caused by increased melting on the ice shelves, is not very likely.

  6. Recent Changes in Arctic Glaciers, Ice Caps, and the Greenland Ice Sheet: Cold Facts About Warm Ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdalati, W.

    2005-12-01

    One of the major manifestations of Arctic change can be observed in the state of balance of Arctic glaciers and ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet. These ice masses are estimated to contain nearly 3 million cubic kilometers of ice, which is more than six times greater than all the water stored in the Earth's lakes, rivers, and snow combined and is the equivalent of over 7 meters of sea level. Most of these ice masses have been shrinking in recent in years, but their mass balance is highly variable on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. On the Greenland ice sheet most of the coastal regions have thinned substantially as melt has increased and some of its outlet glaciers have accelerated. Near the equilibrium line in West Greenland, we have seen evidence of summer acceleration that is linked to surface meltwater production, suggesting a relatively rapid response mechanism of the ice sheet change to a warming climate. At the same time, however, the vast interior regions of the Greenland ice sheet have shown little change or slight growth, as accumulation in these areas may have increased. Throughout much of the rest of the Arctic, many glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking in the past few decades, and in Canada and Alaska, the rate of ice loss seems to have accelerated during the late 1990s. These recent observations offer only a snapshot in time of the long-term behavior, but they are providing crucial information about the current state of ice mass balance and the mechanisms that control it in one of the most climatically sensitive regions on Earth. As we continue to learn more through a combination of remote sensing observations, in situ measurements and improved modeling capabilities, it is important that we coordinate and integrate these approaches effectively in order to predict future changes and their impact on sea level, freshwater discharge, and ocean circulation.

  7. Geophysical constraints on the dynamics and retreat of the Barents Sea ice sheet as a paleobenchmark for models of marine ice sheet deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patton, Henry; Andreassen, Karin; Bjarnadóttir, Lilja R.; Dowdeswell, Julian A.; Winsborrow, Monica C. M.; Noormets, Riko; Polyak, Leonid; Auriac, Amandine; Hubbard, Alun

    2015-12-01

    Our understanding of processes relating to the retreat of marine-based ice sheets, such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and tidewater-terminating glaciers in Greenland today, is still limited. In particular, the role of ice stream instabilities and oceanographic dynamics in driving their collapse are poorly constrained beyond observational timescales. Over numerous glaciations during the Quaternary, a marine-based ice sheet has waxed and waned over the Barents Sea continental shelf, characterized by a number of ice streams that extended to the shelf edge and subsequently collapsed during periods of climate and ocean warming. Increasing availability of offshore and onshore geophysical data over the last decade has significantly enhanced our knowledge of the pattern and timing of retreat of this Barents Sea ice sheet (BSIS), particularly so from its Late Weichselian maximum extent. We present a review of existing geophysical constraints that detail the dynamic evolution of the BSIS through the last glacial cycle, providing numerical modelers and geophysical workers with a benchmark data set with which to tune ice sheet reconstructions and explore ice sheet sensitivities and drivers of dynamic behavior. Although constraining data are generally spatially sporadic across the Barents and Kara Seas, behaviors such as ice sheet thinning, major ice divide migration, asynchronous and rapid flow switching, and ice stream collapses are all evident. Further investigation into the drivers and mechanisms of such dynamics within this unique paleo-analogue is seen as a key priority for advancing our understanding of marine-based ice sheet deglaciations, both in the deep past and in the short-term future.

  8. Potential Climatic Effects on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R. A.

    1984-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet covers an area of 1,720,000 sq. km and contains approximately 2,600,000 cu km of ice. Most of the ice sheet receives an excess of snow accumulation over the amount of ice lost to wind, meltwater run-off or other ablative processes. The majority of mass loss occurs at the margin of the ice sheet as either surface melt, which flows into the sea or calving of icebergs from the tongues of outlet glaciers. Many estimates of these processes were published. An average of five published estimates is summarized. If these estimates are correct, then the Greenland Ice Sheet is in approximate equilibrium and contributes 490 cu km/a of fresh water to the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Climate effects, ice sheet flow, and application of remote sensing to tracking of the ice sheet are discussed.

  9. Potential Climatic Effects on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R. A.

    1984-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet covers an area of 1,720,000 sq. km and contains approximately 2,600,000 cu km of ice. Most of the ice sheet receives an excess of snow accumulation over the amount of ice lost to wind, meltwater run-off or other ablative processes. The majority of mass loss occurs at the margin of the ice sheet as either surface melt, which flows into the sea or calving of icebergs from the tongues of outlet glaciers. Many estimates of these processes were published. An average of five published estimates is summarized. If these estimates are correct, then the Greenland Ice Sheet is in approximate equilibrium and contributes 490 cu km/a of fresh water to the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Climate effects, ice sheet flow, and application of remote sensing to tracking of the ice sheet are discussed.

  10. Uncertainty in Ice Crystal Orientation Distributions in Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hay, Michael; Waddington, Edwin

    2016-04-01

    Crystal-orientation fabrics in polar ice sheets have a strong influence on ice flow due to the plastic anisotropy of ice. Crystal orientations evolve primarily in response to applied strain, but are also affected by temperature, impurities, interactions with neighbors, and other factors. While the evolution of each ice crystal is physically deterministic, in limited samples, such as those from ice-core thin sections, measured samples are stochastic due to sampling error. Even in continuum representations from models, crystal orientation distribution functions (ODFs) can be treated as stochastic due to uncertainties in how they developed. Here, we present results on the statistics of crystal orientation fabrics. We show a first-order estimate of the sampling distribution of fabric eigenvalues and fabric eigenvectors from ice-core thin sections. We also analyze uncertainty in electron backscatter diffraction measurements. In addition to sampling error, the strain histories of fabrics are generally poorly constrained, and may have varied in unknown ways through time. Nearby layers in ice sheets can also experience different strain histories due to inherent variabilities such as transient flow, or differences in impurities. This means that the continuum ODF itself can be treated as stochastic, because it depends on an effectively-stochastic unknown strain-history. To explore this, we analyze the effects of strain and vorticity variability on the evolution of the continuum ice-crystal ODF. We recast Jeffery's equation for the evolution of the ODF as a stochastic differential equation, with vorticity and strain perturbed by Gaussian processes. From this, we run a Monte-Carlo ensemble to determine likely bounds of true continuum ODF variability in response to random perturbations of strain and vorticity.

  11. Statistical Variability of Ice Crystal Orientations in Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hay, M.; Waddington, E. D.

    2015-12-01

    Crystal-orientation fabrics in polar ice sheets have a strong influence on ice flow due to the plastic anisotropy of ice. Crystal orientations evolve primarily in response to applied strain, but are also affected by temperature, impurities, interactions with neighbors, and other factors. While the evolution of each ice crystal is physically deterministic, in limited samples, such as those from ice-core thin sections, measured samples are stochastic due to sampling error. Even in continuum representations from models, crystal ODFs can be treated as stochastic due to uncertainties in how they developed. Here, we present results on the statistics of crystal orientation fabrics. We show a first-order estimate of the sampling distribution of fabric eigenvalues and fabric eigenvectors from ice-core thin sections. In addition, the strain histories of fabrics are generally poorly constrained, and may have varied in unknown ways through time. Nearby layers in ice sheets can also experience different strain histories due to inherent variabilities such as transient flow, or differences in impurities. This means that the continuum ODF itself can be treated as stochastic, because it depends on an effectively-stochastic unknown strain-history. To explore this, we analyze the effects of strain and vorticity variability on the evolution of the continuum ice-crystal ODF. We recast Jeffery's equation for the evolution of the ODF as a stochastic differential equation, with vorticity and strain perturbed by Gaussian processes. From this, we run a Monte-Carlo ensemble to determine likely bounds of true continuum ODF variability in response to random perturbations of strain and vorticity.

  12. Ice stream reorganization and ice sheet mass balance following the reactivation of Kamb Ice Stream, West Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bougamont, Marion; Christoffersen, Poul; Price, Stephen; Carter, Sasha

    2015-04-01

    Ice streams in Antarctica account for most of the ice volume discharged to the ocean, and their flow variability greatly influences the mass balance of the ice sheet. Today, the Siple Coast region of West Antarctica is the only one to experience a positive mass balance (~36Gt/yr), as a consequence of the stagnation of Kamb Ice Stream about 170 years ago and the ongoing slowdown of Whillans Ice Stream. However, this positive trend could be temporary; past studies have shown that both ice streams experienced significant flow variability over the past millennia, with stagnation typically followed by reactivation on centennial timescales, occurring in response to internal processes. The impact this variability may have on the future mass balance of the WAIS remains unknown. Here, we explore the future flow variability of the Siple Coast ice streams by using a three-dimensional higher-order ice sheet model (CISM), coupled to a physically-based basal processes model and a model of regional hydrology. To obtain realistic initial flow conditions, we assimilate available velocity data for this region from 1997. We perform forward simulations over a 200 year period, during which the basal properties evolve according to the distribution of meltwater beneath the ice and its drainage/flow through a subglacial till layer. First, we assume that the bed evolves according to ice-till interactions with only local exchange of water between the ice and till. Next, we include a model of the regional basal water system capable of transporting water over long distances, so that meltwater is routed laterally along the bed before interacting with the till layer. We also explore the effect of geothermal heat flux uncertainties. We find that ice discharge to the grounding line is larger and more sustained in time when the regional water system is included in the simulations. Still, in all experiments, the main future perturbation to the current state of flow follows from the reactivation of

  13. Flow-pattern evolution of the last British Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Anna L. C.; Clark, Chris D.; Jordan, Colm J.

    2014-04-01

    We present a 10-stage reconstruction of the evolution in ice-flow patterns of the last British Ice Sheet from build-up to demise derived from geomorphological evidence. 100 flowsets identified in the subglacial bedform record (drumlins, mega-scale glacial lineations, and ribbed moraine) are combined with ancillary evidence (erratic-transport paths, absolute dates and a semi-independently reconstructed retreat pattern) to define flow patterns, ice divides and ice-sheet margins during build-up, maximum glaciation and retreat. Overprinting and cross-cutting of landform assemblages are used to define the relative chronology of flow patterns and a tentative absolute chronology is presented based on a collation of available dates for ice advance and retreat. The ice-flow configuration of the last British Ice Sheet was not static. Some ice divides were remarkably stable, persisting through multiple stages of the ice-sheet evolution, whereas others were transient features existing for a short time and/or shifting in position 10s km. The 10 reconstructed stages of ice-sheet geometry capture two main modes of operation; first as an integrated ice sheet with a broadly N-S orientated ice divide, and second as a multi-domed ice sheet orientated parallel with the shelf edge. A thick integrated ice sheet developed as ice expanded out of source areas in Scotland to envelop southerly ice caps in northern England and Wales, and connect with the Irish Ice Sheet to the west and the Scandinavian Ice Sheet across the North Sea. Following break-up of ice over the North Sea, ice streaming probably drove mass loss and ice-sheet thinning to create a more complex divide structure, where ice-flow patterns were largely controlled by the form of the underlying topography. Ice surface lowering occurred before separation of, and retreat to, multiple ice centres centred over high ground. We consider this 10-stage reconstruction of the evolution in ice-sheet configuration to be the simplest palaeo

  14. The First Annual West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Science Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, Robert A. (Editor)

    1993-01-01

    A compilation of abstracts presented at the workshop are presented. The goal was to answer the question, what is the future behavior and potential for rapid collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)? The workshop was organized into four sessions corresponding to the four objectives identified as necessary to reach the WAIS workshop goal: history, current behavior, internal dynamics, and environmental interactions. Presentations were organized by their relevance to each objective, rather than by discipline.

  15. Latest Word on Retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2000-01-01

    The West Antarctic ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is estimated to have been three times its present volume and to have extended close to the edge of the continental shelf Holocene retreat of this ice sheet in the Ross Sea began between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago. This history implies an average contribution of this ice sheet to sea level of 0.9 mm/a. Evidence of dateable past grounding line positions in the Ross sector are broadly consistent with a linear retreat model. However, inferred rates of retreat for some of these grounding line positions are not consistent with a linear retreat model. More rapid retreat approximately 7600 years ago and possible near-stability in the Ross Sea sector at present suggest a slow rate of initial retreat followed by a more rapid-than-average retreat during the late Holocene, returning to a near-zero rate of retreat currently. This model is also consistent with the mid-Holocene high stand observations of eustatic sea level. Recent compilation of Antarctic bed elevations (BEDMAP) illustrates that the LGM and present grounding lines occur in the shallowest waters, further supporting the model of a middle phase of rapid retreat bracketed by an older and a more recent phase of modest retreat. Extension of these hypotheses into the future make subsequent behavior of the West Antarctic ice sheet more difficult to predict but suggest that if it loses its hold on the present shallow bed, the final retreat of the ice sheet could be very rapid.

  16. Latest Word on Retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, R.

    2000-01-01

    The West Antarctic ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is estimated to have been three times its present volume and to have extended close to the edge of the continental shelf Holocene retreat of this ice sheet in the Ross Sea began between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago. This history implies an average contribution of this ice sheet to sea level of 0.9 mm/a. Evidence of dateable past grounding line positions in the Ross sector are broadly consistent with a linear retreat model. However, inferred rates of retreat for some of these grounding line positions are not consistent with a linear retreat model. More rapid retreat approximately 7600 years ago and possible near-stability in the Ross Sea sector at present suggest a slow rate of initial retreat followed by a more rapid-than-average retreat during the late Holocene, returning to a near-zero rate of retreat currently. This model is also consistent with the mid-Holocene high stand observations of eustatic sea level. Recent compilation of Antarctic bed elevations (BEDMAP) illustrates that the LGM and present grounding lines occur in the shallowest waters, further supporting the model of a middle phase of rapid retreat bracketed by an older and a more recent phase of modest retreat. Extension of these hypotheses into the future make subsequent behavior of the West Antarctic ice sheet more difficult to predict but suggest that if it loses its hold on the present shallow bed, the final retreat of the ice sheet could be very rapid.

  17. Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakker, Pepijn; Clark, Peter U.; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Schmittner, Andreas; Weber, Michael E.

    2017-01-01

    Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean-atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both high-spatial-resolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

  18. Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge.

    PubMed

    Bakker, Pepijn; Clark, Peter U; Golledge, Nicholas R; Schmittner, Andreas; Weber, Michael E

    2017-01-05

    Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean-atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both high-spatial-resolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

  19. Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakker, Pepijn; Clark, Peter U.; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Schmittner, Andreas; Weber, Michael E.

    2016-12-01

    Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean-atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both high-spatial-resolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

  20. Global Ice Sheet Mapping Observatory Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jezek, K.; Gogineni, P.; Wu, X.; Rodriguez, E.

    2008-12-01

    We describe field experiments designed to test a spaceborne-radar system-concept envisioned to measure the spatial reflectivity and the 3-dimensional surface and basal topography of terrestrial ice sheets and to determine the physical properties of the glacier bed. We conducted our experiments during May 2006, September 2007 and July 2008 in Northern and Central Greenland. We operated 150 and 450 MHz radars which we installed on a P-3 and Twin Otter aircraft. We operated at altitudes up to 6800 m above mean sea level and as low as 500 m above the ice sheet surface. We used 2 transmitting antennas and 6-8 receiving antennas so as to be able to acquire nadir data as well as to be able to form interferometric pairs with different baseline combinations. We collected data over different glacial regimes including over the North East Ice Stream which is suspected to be underlain by water and where we detected strong echoes. Our results indicate that without substantial post processing, surface and volume clutter obscures a strong basal echo in the interior ice sheet at 450 MHz and to a lesser degree at 150 MHz when the sensor is flown several kilometers above the ice sheet surface. Comparisons between the strong radar echo at the ice stream location with calibration data acquired over the ocean enable us to estimate attenuation through the ice at both frequencies. We use the data to test several clutter rejection schemes including interferogram filtering and multiaperture beam formation. We successfully tested both approaches and show how the interferogram filtering technique also allows for simultaneous separation of signals from the left and right side of the aircraft. We use the separation scheme to compute the three-dimensional subglacial topography along several swaths each of which is up to 3 km wide. We find that the basal topography of our northwestern Greenland study areas consists of gently undulating hills of about 5 km wavelength that are occasionally cross

  1. Effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimada, R.; Takeuchi, N.; Aoki, T.

    2012-12-01

    Greenland ice sheet holds approximately 10% of the fresh water on earth. If it melts all, sea level rises about 7.2meter. It is reported that mass of Greenland ice sheet is decreasing with temperature rising of climate change. Melting of the coastal area is particularly noticeable. It is established that 4 to 23% of the sea level rising from 1993 to 2005 is caused by the melting of Greenland ice sheet. In 2010, amount of melting per year became the largest than the past. However many climate models aren't able to simulate the recent melting of snow and ice in the Arctic including Greenland. One of the possible causes is albedo reduction of snow and ice surface by light absorbing snow impurities such as black carbon and dust and by glacial microorganisms. But there are few researches for effect of glacial microorganism in wide area. So it is important to clarify the impact of glacial microorganisms in wide area. The purpose of this study is to clarify the effect of microorganism on Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change using satellite images of visible, near infrared and thermal infrared wavelength range and observation carried out in northwestern Greenland. We use MODIS Land Surface Temperature Product as ice sheet surface temperature. It estimates land surface temperature based on split window method using thermal infrared bands. MODIS data is bound to cover the whole of Greenland, and calculated the ratio of the temperature change per year. Analysis period is from December 2002 to November 2010. Results of calculating Greenland ice sheet surface temperature change using the MODIS data, our analysis shows that it is upward trend in the whole region. We find a striking upward trend in northern and western part of Greenland. The rate is 0.33±0.03 degree Celsius per a year from 47.5°W to 49°W. While in the coastal area from 49°W to 50.7°W, the rate is 0.26±0.06 degree Celsius per a year. This large upward trend area is the same area as dark region

  2. Deglaciation of the Eurasian ice sheet complex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patton, Henry; Hubbard, Alun; Andreassen, Karin; Auriac, Amandine; Whitehouse, Pippa L.; Stroeven, Arjen P.; Shackleton, Calvin; Winsborrow, Monica; Heyman, Jakob; Hall, Adrian M.

    2017-08-01

    The Eurasian ice sheet complex (EISC) was the third largest ice mass during the Last Glacial Maximum with a span of over 4500 km and responsible for around 20 m of eustatic sea-level lowering. Whilst recent terrestrial and marine empirical insights have improved understanding of the chronology, pattern and rates of retreat of this vast ice sheet, a concerted attempt to model the deglaciation of the EISC honouring these new constraints is conspicuously lacking. Here, we apply a first-order, thermomechanical ice sheet model, validated against a diverse suite of empirical data, to investigate the retreat of the EISC after 23 ka BP, directly extending the work of Patton et al. (2016) who modelled the build-up to its maximum extent. Retreat of the ice sheet complex was highly asynchronous, reflecting contrasting regional sensitivities to climate forcing, oceanic influence, and internal dynamics. Most rapid retreat was experienced across the Barents Sea sector after 17.8 ka BP when this marine-based ice sheet disintegrated at a rate of ∼670 gigatonnes per year (Gt a-1) through enhanced calving and interior dynamic thinning, driven by oceanic/atmospheric warming and exacerbated by eustatic sea-level rise. From 14.9 to 12.9 ka BP the EISC lost on average 750 Gt a-1, peaking at rates >3000 Gt a-1, roughly equally partitioned between surface melt and dynamic losses, and potentially contributing up to 2.5 m to global sea-level rise during Meltwater Pulse 1A. Independent glacio-isostatic modelling constrained by an extensive inventory of relative sea-level change corroborates our ice sheet loading history of the Barents Sea sector. Subglacial conditions were predominately temperate during deglaciation, with over 6000 subglacial lakes predicted along with an extensive subglacial drainage network. Moreover, the maximum EISC and its isostatic footprint had a profound impact on the proglacial hydrological network, forming the Fleuve Manche mega-catchment which had an area of

  3. Continuous broadband seismic observation on the Greenland Ice Sheet under Greenland Ice Sheet monitoring Network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuboi, Seiji; Kanao, Masaki; Tono, Yoko; Himeno, Tetsuto; Toyokuni, Genti; Childs, Dean; Dahl-Jensen, Trine; anderson, Kent

    2013-04-01

    We have installed the ice sheet broadband seismograph station, called ICE-S (DK.ICESG) in June 2011, in collaboration with IRIS Polar Services under the GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN), which is a new, international, broadband seismic capability for Greenland being implemented through the collaboration between Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, and the USA. The primary purpose of GLISN project is to define the fine structure and detailed mechanisms of glacial earthquakes within the Greenland Ice Sheet. These glacial earthquakes in the magnitude range 4.6-5.1 may be modeled as a large glacial ice mass sliding downhill several meters on its basal surface over duration of 30 to 60 seconds. Glacial earthquakes have been observed at seismic stations within Greenland (Larsen et al, 2006), but the coverage was very sparse and a broadband, real-time seismic network was needed to be installed throughout Greenland's Ice Sheet and perimeter. The National Institute for Polar Research and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology are members of GLISN project and we have started to operate ICESG station since 2011. The station is equipped with a CMG-3T broadband seismometer and a Quanterra Q330 data logger. We have visited the station again in May, 2012 and successfully retrieved one year of continuous records from the broadband seismometer and updated the telemetry system to eventually allow real time monitoring of the station. ICESG station is now daily sending 1 Hz continuous data over the iridium satellite system using RUDICS. The observed three component seismograms demonstrate that the quality of this ice sheet station is good enough to record not only local earthquakes around Greeland but also teleseismic earthquakes. We could record three component broadband seismograms for April 11, 2012 Off the west coast of Northern Sumatra earthquake (Mw8.6). These seismograms show high signal to noise ratio

  4. Response of marine-based sectors of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets during the last glacial cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gasson, Edward; DeConto, Robert; Pollard, David

    2017-04-01

    How the marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet will respond to climate change is one of the largest sources of uncertainty for future sea level estimates. There are a number of instability mechanisms that have been proposed that could lead to rapid retreat of the Antarctic ice sheet in a warmer world. Here we explore how marine-based sectors of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets responded during the last glacial cycle using simulations with a hybrid SIA-SSA model that has been used extensively for both paleo and future simulations. Of particular interest is how successfully this model can simulate formation and retreat of marine-based ice sheets, such as the Barents Sea ice sheet and the British-Irish ice sheet. We also explore the controversial suggestion that there was expansion of Arctic ice shelves during earlier glacial stages.

  5. Moulin density controls drainage development beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banwell, Alison; Hewitt, Ian; Willis, Ian; Arnold, Neil

    2016-12-01

    Uncertainty remains about how the surface hydrology of the Greenland ice sheet influences its subglacial drainage system, affecting basal water pressures and ice velocities, particularly over intraseasonal and interseasonal timescales. Here we apply a high spatial (200 m) and temporal (1 h) resolution subglacial hydrological model to a marginal (extending 25 km inland), land-terminating, 200 km2 domain in the Paakitsoq region, West Greenland. The model is based on that by Hewitt (2013) but adapted for use with both real topographic boundary conditions and calibrated modeled water inputs. The inputs consist of moulin hydrographs, calculated by a surface routing and lake-filling/draining model, which is forced with distributed runoff from a surface energy-balance model. Results suggest that the areal density of lake-bottom moulins and their timing of opening during the melt season strongly affects subglacial drainage system development. A higher moulin density causes an earlier onset of subglacial channelization (i.e., water transport through channels rather than the distributed sheet), which becomes relatively widespread across the bed, whereas a lower moulin density results in a later onset of channelization that becomes less widespread across the bed. In turn, moulin density has a strong control on spatial and temporal variations in subglacial water pressures, which will influence basal sliding rates, and thus ice motion. The density of active surface-to-bed connections should be considered alongside surface melt intensity and extent in future predictions of the ice sheet's dynamics.

  6. Projecting Antarctic ice discharge using response functions from SeaRISE ice-sheet models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levermann, A.; Winkelmann, R.; Nowicki, S.; Fastook, J. L.; Frieler, K.; Greve, R.; Hellmer, H. H.; Martin, M. A.; Meinshausen, M.; Mengel, M.; Payne, A. J.; Pollard, D.; Sato, T.; Timmermann, R.; Wang, W. L.; Bindschadler, R. A.

    2014-08-01

    The largest uncertainty in projections of future sea-level change results from the potentially changing dynamical ice discharge from Antarctica. Basal ice-shelf melting induced by a warming ocean has been identified as a major cause for additional ice flow across the grounding line. Here we attempt to estimate the uncertainty range of future ice discharge from Antarctica by combining uncertainty in the climatic forcing, the oceanic response and the ice-sheet model response. The uncertainty in the global mean temperature increase is obtained from historically constrained emulations with the MAGICC-6.0 (Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse gas Induced Climate Change) model. The oceanic forcing is derived from scaling of the subsurface with the atmospheric warming from 19 comprehensive climate models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP-5) and two ocean models from the EU-project Ice2Sea. The dynamic ice-sheet response is derived from linear response functions for basal ice-shelf melting for four different Antarctic drainage regions using experiments from the Sea-level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution (SeaRISE) intercomparison project with five different Antarctic ice-sheet models. The resulting uncertainty range for the historic Antarctic contribution to global sea-level rise from 1992 to 2011 agrees with the observed contribution for this period if we use the three ice-sheet models with an explicit representation of ice-shelf dynamics and account for the time-delayed warming of the oceanic subsurface compared to the surface air temperature. The median of the additional ice loss for the 21st century is computed to 0.07 m (66% range: 0.02-0.14 m; 90% range: 0.0-0.23 m) of global sea-level equivalent for the low-emission RCP-2.6 (Representative Concentration Pathway) scenario and 0.09 m (66% range: 0.04-0.21 m; 90% range: 0.01-0.37 m) for the strongest RCP-8.5. Assuming no time delay between the atmospheric warming and the oceanic subsurface, these

  7. Recent Changes in High-Latitude Glaciers, Ice Caps, and Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdalati, W.

    2004-12-01

    The mass balance of high-latitude glaciers and ice sheets is highly variable on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, but through a combination of remote sensing and in situ measurements, some significant changes have been observed in recent years. On the Greenland ice sheet most of the coastal regions have thinned substantially as melt has increased and some of its outlet glaciers have accelerated. Near the equilibrium line in West Greenland, we have seen evidence of summer acceleration that is linked to surface meltwater production, suggesting a relatively rapid response mechanism between the ice sheet and a warming climate. Throughout much of the rest of the Arctic, glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking in recent decades, with increased mass losses during the 1990s in parts of Canada and Alaska. The picture is more complicated in the southern hemisphere, where Antarctic ice is growing in some areas, shrinking dramatically in others, and is essentially in balance elsewhere. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) shows thinning along its northern margin, particularly in the glaciers that flow into the Amundsen Sea. The western portions of the WAIS, however, show thickening, but in the aggregate the mass loss is believed to exceed the gain. Changes in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are small, but we don't know at this point whether it is growing or shrinking. On the Antarctic Peninsula, the rapid disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf has resulted in acceleration and thinning of a small number of glaciers that once fed the ice shelf. This behavior raises questions about relatively near-term consequences of climate change and the Antarctic Ice Sheet's contribution to sea level rise. These recent observations offer only a snapshot in time of their long-term behavior, but they are providing crucial information about the current state of ice mass balance and the mechanisms that control it. As we continue to learn more through a combination of remote sensing

  8. Extraction of Ice Sheet Layers from Two Intersected Radar Echograms Near Neem Ice Core in Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiong, S.; Muller, J.-P.

    2016-06-01

    Accumulation of snow and ice over time result in ice sheet layers. These can be remotely sensed where there is a contrast in electromagnetic properties, which reflect variations of the ice density, acidity and fabric orientation. Internal ice layers are assumed to be isochronous, deep beneath the ice surface, and parallel to the direction of ice flow. The distribution of internal layers is related to ice sheet dynamics, such as the basal melt rate, basal elevation variation and changes in ice flow mode, which are important parameters to model the ice sheet. Radar echo sounder is an effective instrument used to study the sedimentology of the Earth and planets. Ice Penetrating Radar (IPR) is specific kind of radar echo sounder, which extends studies of ice sheets from surface to subsurface to deep internal ice sheets depending on the frequency utilised. In this study, we examine a study site where folded ice occurs in the internal ice sheet south of the North Greenland Eemian ice drilling (NEEM) station, where two intersected radar echograms acquired by the Multi-channel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS) employed in the NASA's Operation IceBridge (OIB) mission imaged this folded ice. We propose a slice processing flow based on a Radon Transform to trace and extract these two sets of curved ice sheet layers, which can then be viewed in 3-D, demonstrating the 3-D structure of the ice folds.

  9. Determining Greenland Ice Sheet Accumulation Rates from Radar Remote Sensing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.

    2001-01-01

    An important component of NASA's Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) is a mass balance investigation of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The mass balance is calculated by taking the difference between the snow accumulation and the ice discharge of the ice sheet. Uncertainties in this calculation include the snow accumulation rate, which has traditionally been determined by interpolating data from ice core samples taken throughout the ice sheet. The sparse data associated with ice cores, coupled with the high spatial and temporal resolution provided by remote sensing, have motivated scientists to investigate relationships between accumulation rate and microwave observations.

  10. Recommendations from the SCAR Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS) Workshop.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jacka, T. H.

    2002-05-01

    The determination of growth or shrinkage of the great ice sheets is the oldest scientific problem of Earth's polar regions. Today, the issue of ice mass balance has renewed urgency because of the role of grounded ice in sea level change. In fact, the significant variations in sea level over the past million years have been controlled by ice, and it is clear that the response of the ice sheets to climate change in the immediate future could significantly alter sea level. This issue is especially relevant at this time because the prediction of global sea level change is of practical concern. Recent observations of the ice sheets have discovered unexpected change in ice stream velocities as well as ice shelf collapse. Theoretical analysis of ice sheet response to climate change has indicated a wide range of outcomes on different time scales under different climate change scenarios. New technologies have resulted in a significant increase in the ability to observe and model ice sheet properties and processes. Recognizing the likelihood and potential of ice sheet change, the SCAR Glaciology WG, with the support of SCAR-GLOCHANT has established the Ice Sheet Mass Balance and Sea Level (ISMASS) project to examine and report on the study of the ice mass balance of Antarctica. The ISMASS team has recently developed a strategy to establish a meaningful international scientific approach to understanding and predicting Antarctic ice sheet mass balance. The strategy was developed at a workshop held at Annapolis, Maryland, USA, and sponsored by SCAR, with support from WCRP, the Antarctic CRC (Australia) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. This presentation will outline the main recommendations from the workshop

  11. Warming Seas and Melting Ice Sheets

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-09-28

    Sea level rise is a natural consequence of the warming of our planet. We know this from basic physics. When water heats up, it expands. So when the ocean warms, sea level rises. When ice is exposed to heat, it melts. And when ice on land melts and water runs into the ocean, sea level rises. For thousands of years, sea level has remained relatively stable and human communities have settled along the planet’s coastlines. But now Earth’s seas are rising. Globally, sea level has risen about eight inches since the beginning of the 20th century and more than two inches in the last 20 years alone. All signs suggest that this rise is accelerating. Read more: go.nasa.gov/1heZn29 Caption: An iceberg floats in Disko Bay, near Ilulissat, Greenland, on July 24, 2015. The massive Greenland ice sheet is shedding about 300 gigatons of ice a year into the ocean, making it the single largest source of sea level rise from melting ice. Credits: NASA/Saskia Madlener NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram

  12. Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat

    PubMed Central

    Scherer, Reed P.; DeConto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Alley, Richard B.

    2016-01-01

    Marine diatoms in tillites along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) have been used to suggest a diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) during Pliocene warm periods. Updated ice-sheet modelling shows significant Pliocene EAIS retreat, creating marine embayments into the Wilkes and Aurora basins that were conducive to high diatom productivity and rapid accumulation of diatomaceous sediments. Here we show that subsequent isostatic uplift exposed accumulated unconsolidated marine deposits to wind erosion. We report new atmospheric modelling utilizing Pliocene climate and derived Antarctic landscapes indicating that prevailing mid-altitude winds transported diatoms towards the TAMs, dominantly from extensive emerged coastal deposits of the Aurora Basin. This result unifies leading ideas from competing sides of a contentious debate about the origin of the diatoms in the TAMs and their link to EAIS history, supporting the view that parts of the EAIS are vulnerable to relatively modest warming, with possible implications for future sea-level rise. PMID:27649516

  13. Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scherer, Reed P.; Deconto, Robert M.; Pollard, David; Alley, Richard B.

    2016-09-01

    Marine diatoms in tillites along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) have been used to suggest a diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) during Pliocene warm periods. Updated ice-sheet modelling shows significant Pliocene EAIS retreat, creating marine embayments into the Wilkes and Aurora basins that were conducive to high diatom productivity and rapid accumulation of diatomaceous sediments. Here we show that subsequent isostatic uplift exposed accumulated unconsolidated marine deposits to wind erosion. We report new atmospheric modelling utilizing Pliocene climate and derived Antarctic landscapes indicating that prevailing mid-altitude winds transported diatoms towards the TAMs, dominantly from extensive emerged coastal deposits of the Aurora Basin. This result unifies leading ideas from competing sides of a contentious debate about the origin of the diatoms in the TAMs and their link to EAIS history, supporting the view that parts of the EAIS are vulnerable to relatively modest warming, with possible implications for future sea-level rise.

  14. Windblown Pliocene diatoms and East Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat.

    PubMed

    Scherer, Reed P; DeConto, Robert M; Pollard, David; Alley, Richard B

    2016-09-20

    Marine diatoms in tillites along the Transantarctic Mountains (TAMs) have been used to suggest a diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) during Pliocene warm periods. Updated ice-sheet modelling shows significant Pliocene EAIS retreat, creating marine embayments into the Wilkes and Aurora basins that were conducive to high diatom productivity and rapid accumulation of diatomaceous sediments. Here we show that subsequent isostatic uplift exposed accumulated unconsolidated marine deposits to wind erosion. We report new atmospheric modelling utilizing Pliocene climate and derived Antarctic landscapes indicating that prevailing mid-altitude winds transported diatoms towards the TAMs, dominantly from extensive emerged coastal deposits of the Aurora Basin. This result unifies leading ideas from competing sides of a contentious debate about the origin of the diatoms in the TAMs and their link to EAIS history, supporting the view that parts of the EAIS are vulnerable to relatively modest warming, with possible implications for future sea-level rise.

  15. Historic and Future Ice Storms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klima, K.; Morgan, M. G.

    2014-12-01

    Ice storm losses from business interruption as well as transportation and health damages can range into billions of dollars. For instance, the December 2008 New England and Upstate New York ice storm caused four deaths and monetary damages between 2.5 and 3.7 billion, and the 2008 Chinese winter storms resulted in over 130 deaths and over 20 billion in damages. Informal discussions with ice storm experts indicate that due to competing temperature and precipitation effects as well as local topographic effects, it is unclear how exactly climate change will affect ice storms. Here we ask how incident frequencies might change in a future climate at four weather stations prone to ice storms. Using historical atmospheric soundings, we conduct a thought experiment where we perturb the temperatures as might be expected in a future climate. We then discuss changes in monthly frequency of ice storms.

  16. Tectonics and ice sheet dynamics of West Antarctic margins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gohl, Karsten

    2010-05-01

    An understanding of the glacial history of the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) and Pine Island Bay (PIB) is essential for proposing models on the future development of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This requires an understanding of the tectonic history and knowledge of tectonic features such as lineaments, ridges, sills and basins, because basement morphology and inherited erosional features control the flow direction of ice-sheets and the influx of Circum-Polar Deep Water (CDW). This is an attempt to reconstruct the tectonic history with the aim to search for basement features and crustal boundaries which may be correlated to the flow and dynamics of the ice-sheet. The Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica is in a prominent location for a series of tectonic and magmatic events from Paleozoic to Cenozoic times. Seismic, magnetic and gravity data from the embayment and PIB reveal the crustal thickness and significant tectonic features. NE-SW trending magnetic and gravity anomalies and the thin crust indicate a former rift zone which was active during or in the run-up to the breakup process between Chatham Rise and West Antarctica before or at 90 Ma. NW-SE trending gravity and magnetic anomalies, following a prolongation of Peacock Sound, indicate the extensional southern boundary to the Bellingshausen Plate which was active between 79 and 61 Ma. It is likely that the prominent Pine Island Trough follows a structural boundary between the crustal blocks of Ellsworth Land and Marie Byrd Land. Data are shown from the ASE and PIB which can be interpreted in context with the reconstruction of the ice advance and retreat history in this area. Differences in the behaviour of the ice-sheet are shown to exist for the western and eastern parts of PIB due to basement structures affecting the inflow of CDW.

  17. Snow stratigraphy on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Proksch, Martin; Schneebeli, Martin; Schmid, Lino; Aoki, Teruo; Steffen, Konrad

    2016-04-01

    The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is known to have the potential to contribute to sea-level rise in a warming climate. The snow cover on the ice sheet, which is the direct link between a potentially warmer atmosphere and the ice itself, is, however, poorly investigated and little is known about the microstructure and especially about the spatial variability of the snow cover. We present snow measurements conducted during an extensive flight campaign in May 2015, which covered a broad geographic range of the GrIS to choose profile locations from areas with different climatic conditions and accumulation regimes. The snowpack was characterized using traditional and modern high-resolution measurements (e.g. micro-computed tomography, high-resolution penetrometry, laser reflectance) which provide a quantitative, detailed picture of the stratigraphy and microstructure of the snowpack on the GrIS. Several transects on the scale of 20 - 50 meter reveal the small scale spatial variability also. We discuss the stratigraphic details of and the differences between the different profile sites as well as the advantages and limitations of the modern measurement methods under such environmental conditions.

  18. Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the last glacial maximum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weber, M.E.; Clark, P.U.; Ricken, W.; Mitrovica, J.X.; Hostetler, S.W.; Kuhn, G.

    2011-01-01

    The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood. We develop a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates that the advance to and retreat from their maximum extent was within dating uncertainties synchronous with most sectors of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Surface climate forcing of Antarctic mass balance would probably cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Our new data support teleconnections involving sea-level forcing from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and changes in North Atlantic deep-water formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines to synchronize the hemispheric ice sheets.

  19. Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the Last Glacial Maximum.

    PubMed

    Weber, Michael E; Clark, Peter U; Ricken, Werner; Mitrovica, Jerry X; Hostetler, Steven W; Kuhn, Gerhard

    2011-12-02

    The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood. We develop a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates that the advance to and retreat from their maximum extent was within dating uncertainties synchronous with most sectors of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Surface climate forcing of Antarctic mass balance would probably cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Our new data support teleconnections involving sea-level forcing from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and changes in North Atlantic deep-water formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines to synchronize the hemispheric ice sheets.

  20. Using paleoclimate data to improve models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, M. A.; Phipps, S. J.; Roberts, J. L.; White, D.

    2016-12-01

    Ice sheet models are the most descriptive tools available to simulate the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS), including its contribution towards changes in global sea level. However, our knowledge of the dynamics of the coupled ice-ocean-lithosphere system is inevitably limited, in part due to a lack of observations. Furthemore, to build computationally efficient models that can be run for multiple millennia, it is necessary to use simplified descriptions of ice dynamics. Ice sheet modeling is therefore an inherently uncertain exercise. The past evolution of the AIS provides an opportunity to constrain the description of physical processes within ice sheet models and, therefore, to constrain our understanding of the role of the AIS in driving changes in global sea level. We use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) to demonstrate how paleoclimate data can improve our ability to predict the future evolution of the AIS. A large, perturbed-physics ensemble is generated, spanning uncertainty in the parameterizations of four key physical processes within ice sheet models: ice rheology, ice shelf calving, and the stress balances within ice sheets and ice shelves. A Latin hypercube approach is used to optimally sample the range of uncertainty in parameter values. This perturbed-physics ensemble is used to simulate the evolution of the AIS from the Last Glacial Maximum ( 21,000 years ago) to present. Paleoclimate records are then used to determine which ensemble members are the most realistic. This allows us to use data on past climates to directly constrain our understanding of the past contribution of the AIS towards changes in global sea level. Critically, it also allows us to determine which ensemble members are likely to generate the most realistic projections of the future evolution of the AIS.

  1. Reconstructing the last Newfoundland Ice Sheet,Canada.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McHenry, Maureen; Dunlop, Paul

    2015-04-01

    The Newfoundland Ice Sheet which formed part of the North American Ice Sheet Complex was situated on the margins of the northwest Atlantic Ocean during the Wisconsinan glaciation (~80ka BP to 10ka BP). This complex consisted of the Laurentide, the Cordilleran and Innuitian Ice Sheets, the Canadian Maritime Provinces Ice Cover and the Newfoundland Ice Sheet (NIS). Although all were confluent at the last glacial maximum, the NIS is known to have supported independent ice centres with advances from the Laurentide Ice Sheet being restricted to Newfoundland's northern and western margins. Given its distinctive position, it is likely the evolution of the NIS through the last glacial cycle was influenced by a number of external and internal drivers including configuration changes in the Laurentide Ice Sheet, ice stream initiation and shutdown, changes in oceanic circulation and fluctuating sea levels and climate signals from the wider Amphi-North Atlantic. As such Newfoundland is a key location for investigating ice sheet response to a number of internal and external forcing mechanisms during glacial cycles. An established technique for reconstructing former ice sheet behaviour is the mapping and spatial analysis of glacial landforms. This provides a valuable record of former ice sheet extent and behaviour through time as well as ice sheet retreat during deglaciation. Here we present new mapping based on our interpretation of SPOT satellite imagery and Digital Elevation Models of the entire Island of Newfoundland as well as swath bathymetric imagery from several locations offshore. Our new database consisting of ~150,000 individually mapped subglacial bedforms that includes drumlins, crag and tails, glacially moulded bedrock lineations and ribbed moraines significantly increases the known landform record in this region. The new database shows Newfoundland has a complex palimpsest landscape that records multiple ice sheet events across the island. Here we report our

  2. Hydromechanical Failure Analysis Associated with Laurentide Ice Sheet Glaciations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Y.; Person, M. A.; Voller, V. R.

    2015-12-01

    Glacial loading by continental ice sheets has been linked to large (> M6) Late Pleistocene and Holocene seismicity in Scandinavia and North America along with sedimentary basin blowout features such as Lake Howe, Manitoba Canada and glacio-tectonic thrust structures. The specter of future glaciations is considered one of the most important factors to consider in siting of high-level nuclear wastes in Switzerland, Canada, and Sweden. To date, continental-scale analysis of crustal failure has focused on mechanical failure which has neglected the effects of pore pressure and permeability changes. We have developed a two-dimensional, Cartesian, elastic, plane strain control volume finite element (CVFEM) model to investigate the effect of pore pressure on the failure potential along a cross-sectional transect stretching from the Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Our analysis considers fluid flow and pore pressure eveolution within the upper 10km of the earths crust and mechanical deformation within at 100 km thick lithosphere. We imposed 4 cycles of glaciation of the Laurentide ice sheet during the Last Late Pleistocene. The geomechanical deformation is coupled to the fluid flow through time dependent changes in the mean normal stress. We have conducted a sensitivity study in which we have varied the permeability of the upper crust between a range of 10-20 to 10-14 m2. We solve a series of one-dimensional heat transfer equations to determine regions where the Laurentide ice sheet is wet based or frozen. A Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria was used to analyze the potential of seismicity and permeability changes along pre-existing critically stressed faults. Mechanically failure (neglecting pore pressure evolution, see Figure A attached) caused by ice sheet induced stress perturbation were found to be primarily concentrate in the forebulge region of the ice sheet with the effective Coulomb stress being 4.4 MPa. However, when pore pressure evolution is considered in the

  3. Polar ice-sheet contributions to sea level during past warm periods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutton, A.

    2015-12-01

    Recent sea-level rise has been dominated by thermal expansion and glacier loss, but the contribution from mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is expected to exceed other contributions under future sustained warming. Due to limitations of existing ice sheet models and the lack of relevant analogues in the historical record, projecting the timing and magnitude of polar ice sheet mass loss in the future remains challenging. One approach to improving our understanding of how polar ice-sheet retreat will unfold is to integrate observations and models of sea level, ice sheets, and climate during past intervals of warmth when the polar ice sheets contributed to higher sea levels. A recent review evaluated the evidence of polar ice sheet mass loss during several warm periods, including interglacials during the mid-Pliocene warm period, Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11, 5e (Last Interglacial), and 1 (Holocene). Sea-level benchmarks of ice-sheet retreat during the first of these three periods, when global mean climate was ~1 to 3 deg. C warmer than preindustrial, are useful for understanding the long-term potential for future sea-level rise. Despite existing uncertainties in these reconstructions, it is clear that our present climate is warming to a level associated with significant polar ice-sheet loss in the past, resulting in a conservative estimate for a global mean sea-level rise of 6 meters above present (or more). This presentation will focus on identifying the approaches that have yielded significant advances in terms of past sea level and ice sheet reconstruction as well as outstanding challenges. A key element of recent advances in sea-level reconstructions is the ability to recognize and quantify the imprint of geophysical processes, such as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and dynamic topography, that lead to significant spatial variability in sea level reconstructions. Identifying specific ice-sheet sources that contributed to higher sea levels

  4. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing.

    PubMed

    Tedstone, Andrew J; Nienow, Peter W; Sole, Andrew J; Mair, Douglas W F; Cowton, Thomas R; Bartholomew, Ian D; King, Matt A

    2013-12-03

    Changes to the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet can be forced by various mechanisms including surface-melt-induced ice acceleration and oceanic forcing of marine-terminating glaciers. We use observations of ice motion to examine the surface melt-induced dynamic response of a land-terminating outlet glacier in southwest Greenland to the exceptional melting observed in 2012. During summer, meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet surface accesses the ice sheet bed, lubricating basal motion and resulting in periods of faster ice flow. However, the net impact of varying meltwater volumes upon seasonal and annual ice flow, and thus sea level rise, remains unclear. We show that two extreme melt events (98.6% of the Greenland ice sheet surface experienced melting on July 12, the most significant melt event since 1889, and 79.2% on July 29) and summer ice sheet runoff ~3.9 σ above the 1958-2011 mean resulted in enhanced summer ice motion relative to the average melt year of 2009. However, despite record summer melting, subsequent reduced winter ice motion resulted in 6% less net annual ice motion in 2012 than in 2009. Our findings suggest that surface melt-induced acceleration of land-terminating regions of the ice sheet will remain insignificant even under extreme melting scenarios.

  5. Greenland ice sheet motion insensitive to exceptional meltwater forcing

    PubMed Central

    Tedstone, Andrew J.; Nienow, Peter W.; Sole, Andrew J.; Mair, Douglas W. F.; Cowton, Thomas R.; Bartholomew, Ian D.; King, Matt A.

    2013-01-01

    Changes to the dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet can be forced by various mechanisms including surface-melt–induced ice acceleration and oceanic forcing of marine-terminating glaciers. We use observations of ice motion to examine the surface melt–induced dynamic response of a land-terminating outlet glacier in southwest Greenland to the exceptional melting observed in 2012. During summer, meltwater generated on the Greenland ice sheet surface accesses the ice sheet bed, lubricating basal motion and resulting in periods of faster ice flow. However, the net impact of varying meltwater volumes upon seasonal and annual ice flow, and thus sea level rise, remains unclear. We show that two extreme melt events (98.6% of the Greenland ice sheet surface experienced melting on July 12, the most significant melt event since 1889, and 79.2% on July 29) and summer ice sheet runoff ∼3.9σ above the 1958–2011 mean resulted in enhanced summer ice motion relative to the average melt year of 2009. However, despite record summer melting, subsequent reduced winter ice motion resulted in 6% less net annual ice motion in 2012 than in 2009. Our findings suggest that surface melt–induced acceleration of land-terminating regions of the ice sheet will remain insignificant even under extreme melting scenarios. PMID:24248343

  6. Growth of Greenland ice sheet - Measurement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Bindschadler, Robert A.; Marsh, James G.; Brenner, Anita C.; Major, Judy A.

    1989-01-01

    Measurements of ice-sheet elevation change by satellite altimetry show that the Greenland surface elevation south of 72 deg north latitude is increasing. The vertical velocity of the surface is 0.20 + or - 0.06 meters/year from measured changes in surface elevations at 5906 intersections between Geosat paths in 1985 and Seasat in 1978, and 0.28 + or - 0.02 meters/year from 256,694 intersections of Geosat paths during a 548-day period of 1985 to 1986.

  7. Ice core evidence for extensive melting of the greenland ice sheet in the last interglacial.

    PubMed

    Koerner, R M

    1989-05-26

    Evidence from ice at the bottom of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic Islands and Camp Century and Dye-3 in Greenland suggests that the Greenland ice sheet melted extensively or completely during the last interglacial period more than 100 ka (thousand years ago), in contrast to earlier interpretations. The presence of dirt particles in the basal ice has previously been thought to indicate that the base of the ice sheets had melted and that the evidence for the time of original growth of these ice masses had been destroyed. However, the particles most likely blew onto the ice when the dimensions of the ice caps and ice sheets were much smaller. Ice texture, gas content, and other evidence also suggest that the basal ice at each drill site is superimposed ice, a type of ice typical of the early growth stages of an ice cap or ice sheet. If the present-day ice masses began their growth during the last interglacial, the ice sheet from the earlier (Illinoian) glacial period must have competely or largely melted during the early part of the same interglacial period. If such melting did occur, the 6-meter higher-than-present sea level during the Sangamon cannot be attributed to disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, as has been suggested.

  8. Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, M. E.; Clark, P. U.; Ricken, W.; Mitrovica, J. X.; Hostetler, S. W.; Kuhn, G.

    2012-04-01

    The timing of the last maximum extent of the Antarctic ice sheets relative to those in the Northern Hemisphere remains poorly understood because only a few findings with robust chronologies exist for Antarctic ice sheets. We developed a chronology for the Weddell Sea sector of the East Antarctic ice sheet that, combined with ages from other Antarctic ice-sheet sectors, indicates the advance to their maximum extent at 29 -28 ka, and retreat from their maximum extent at 19 ka was nearly synchronous with Northern Hemisphere ice sheets (Weber, M.E., Clark, P. U., Ricken, W., Mitrovica, J. X., Hostetler, S. W., and Kuhn, G. (2011): Interhemispheric ice-sheet synchronicity during the Last Glacial Maximum. - Science, 334, 1265-1269, doi: 10.1126:science.1209299). As for the deglaciation, modeling studies suggest a late ice-sheet retreat starting around 14 ka BP and ending around 7 ka BP with a large impact of an unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and a small impact of a stable East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). However, the Weddell Sea sites studied here, as well as sites from the Scotia Sea, provide evidence that specifically the EAIS responded much earlier, possibly provided a significant contribution to the last sea-level rise, and was much more dynamic than previously thought. Using the results of an atmospheric general circulation we conclude that surface climate forcing of Antarctic ice mass balance would likely cause an opposite response, whereby a warming climate would increase accumulation but not surface melting. Furthermore, our new data support teleconnections involving a sea-level fingerprint forced from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets as indicated by gravitational modeling. Also, changes in North Atlantic Deepwater formation and attendant heat flux to Antarctic grounding lines may have contributed to synchronizing the hemispheric ice sheets.

  9. East-Antarctic outlet-glacier susceptibility from a data-driven ice-sheet/ice-shelf modelling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, F.; Favier, L.; Drews, R.; Berger, S.; Sun, S.; Van Liefferinge, B.

    2016-12-01

    Understanding the future behaviour of marine sections of the Antarctic ice sheet requires high-resolution data coverage, extended with measurements enabling the validation and initialization of ice-sheet models. Short-term (decades, centuries) projections of ice mass change are generally based on data assimilation methods, requiring accurate knowledge of surface and bed topography, surface velocities and englacial temperatures. Steady-state thermodynamical modelling enables to retrieve englacial temperatures, which are in turn highly dependent on the knowledge of the geothermal heat flow, ice geometry, ice velocity and surface accumulation rates. We present different modelling strategies that enable evaluating the impact of uncertainties in datasets on model performance and ice-sheet susceptibility to change. We established a comprehensive geophysical dataset of the Roi Baudouin ice shelf (East Antarctica) based on, amongst others, radar (high and low frequency, phase-sensitive) and GNSS measurements. Comparison of our measurements with global satellite-derived datasets of surface elevation, ice-flow speed, grounding-line position and ice thickness clearly depict pitfalls as small-scale features, such as pinning points, ice-shelf channels and errors in bathymetry. Our model analysis demonstrates that uncertainties in ice thickness leads to large differences in calculated basal temperatures and basal melt rates. In peripheral areas of the Antarctic ice sheet, uncertainties in surface elevation (precise dome positions) hamper model initializations driven by surface velolocity data. Finally, errors in the initialization of ice-shelf viscosity due to inaccurate mapping of pinning points significantly delays grounding-line retreat in response to ocean perturbation, hence making outlet glaciers seemingly more stable than expected. The analysis led to the identification of crucial data needs (temporal, spatial) for initialization of ice-sheet models.

  10. Modeling the sensitivity of the Greenland Ice Sheet to Holocene climate variability using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cuzzone, J. K.; Larour, E. Y.; Schlegel, N.; Briner, J. P.

    2016-12-01

    Although confidence regarding the trajectory of future ice loss for the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) is high, the rate and magnitude of these changes remain uncertain. Efforts to model the sensitivity of the GIS to future climate change therefore remain a high priority. One method showing promising results in helping to constrain unknown parameters, which are important for modeling the GIS more precisely, involves data assimilation of existing products (i.e. CrySat, ICEsat, IceBridge, etc.). These have been used to invert for unknown parameters such as basal friction and surface mass balance. Using the near past and present data sources, however, does not provide enough information temporally to determine the sensitivity of the GIS to climate change over centennial to millennial scales. Here, we use data assimilation capabilities within the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) framework, which now make it possible to use existing and developing paleoclimate records to test new simulations of the GIS during the Holocene. By allowing the model to capture the required forcings needed to reproduce the reconstructed history of the ice sheet, paleoclimate records serve as a metric to improve accuracy in model spinups towards present day. In particular, we focus on the southwestern GIS, an area where past modeling efforts have shown significant middle Holocene retreat inland of the present day margin. Preliminary results of ISSM simulations including critical glaciological diagnostics (e.g. velocity, surface height, margin position, and mass-flux at the margin) during the Holocene will be presented, with particular attention being given to the paleoclimate archives used as data assimilation targets.

  11. Modeling North American Ice Sheet Response to Changes in Precession and Obliquity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tabor, C.; Poulsen, C. J.; Pollard, D.

    2012-12-01

    precession on the Laurentide and Cordillera ice sheets of North America. Preliminary model results show that the ice sheet response to changes in obliquity are larger than for precession despite providing a smaller direct insolation variation in the Northern Hemisphere high latitudes. A combination of enhanced Northern Hemisphere mid-latitude temperature gradient and longer cycle duration allow for a larger ice sheet response to obliquity than would be expected from insolation forcing alone. Conversely, a shorter duration dampens the ice sheet response to precession. Nevertheless, the precession cycle does cause significant changes in ice volume, a feature not observed in the Early Pleistocene δ18O records (Raymo and Nisancioglu, 2003). Future work will examine the climate response to an idealized transient orbit that includes concurrent variations in obliquity, precession, and eccentricity.

  12. The Greenland ice sheet in a 6 deg World

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe

    2014-05-01

    There is much doubt and uncertainly on the big ice sheets contribution to sea level rise in a warming world. As it continues to warm the ice sheets will become the biggest contributors to sea level rise as other sources have limited capacity: the total volume of the glaciers and ice caps equivalent to 0.5 m sea level rise, thermal expansion and land water will not change sea level more than 1 m. In the past there have been warm climatic periods where the ice sheets have been reduced. During the last interglacial (LIG or the Eemian) 130-115 thousand years ago the mean global sea level has been estimate to be 6-9 m above the present. Ice cores from the Greenland ice sheet inform that the Greenland ice sheet contributed no more than 2 m to the Eemain sea level so 75% of the ice sheet remained even though the Greenland temperatures up to 8±3 deg C warmer than at present, with an Eemian average of 5±3 deg C. Studies of the ancient dna in the last ice cores before bedrock, 3000m below the present surface of the Greenland ice sheet inform that the temperatures here were 10-15 deg C warmer than the present when the vegetation was present and the Greenland ice sheet melted away. The threshold for the existence of the Greenland ice sheet, determined from the palaeodata is an Arctic warming between 5 and 12 deg C. An Arctic warming of 12 deg C corresponds to a global warming of 6 deg C so in this case the Greenland ice sheet was gone with a 7.5 m contribution to the even larger sea level rise at this time. Our findings suggest this happened 1-3 million years ago at a time where the temperatures where much warmer than the present.

  13. Surface Elevation Changes Of The Greenland Ice Sheet- Results From ESA's Ice Sheet CCI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levinsen, Joanna F.; Khvorostovky, Kirill; Meister, Rakia; Sorensen, Louise S.; Ticconi, Francesca; Forsberg, Rene; Shepherd, Andrew

    2013-12-01

    In order to ensure long-term climate data records for the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS), ESA have launched the Cli- mate Change Initiative (CCI). This work presents the preliminary steps towards the Ice Sheet CCI's surface elevation change (SEC) derivation using radar altimeter data. In order to find the most optimal method, a Round Robin exercise was conducted in which the scientific community was asked to provide their best SEC estimate over the Jakobshavn Isbr drainage basin. The participants used both repeat-track (RT), overlapping footprints, and the cross-over (XO) methods, and both ICESat laser and Envisat radar altimeter data were used. Based on this and feedback sheets describing their methods we found that a combination of the RT and XO techniques yielded the best results. In the following, the obtained results will be presented and discussed.

  14. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin.

    PubMed

    Feldmann, Johannes; Levermann, Anders

    2015-11-17

    The future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet represents the largest uncertainty in sea-level projections of this and upcoming centuries. Recently, satellite observations and high-resolution simulations have suggested the initiation of an ice-sheet instability in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica, caused by the last decades' enhanced basal ice-shelf melting. Whether this localized destabilization will yield a full discharge of marine ice from West Antarctica, associated with a global sea-level rise of more than 3 m, or whether the ice loss is limited by ice dynamics and topographic features, is unclear. Here we show that in the Parallel Ice Sheet Model, a local destabilization causes a complete disintegration of the marine ice in West Antarctica. In our simulations, at 5-km horizontal resolution, the region disequilibrates after 60 y of currently observed melt rates. Thereafter, the marine ice-sheet instability fully unfolds and is not halted by topographic features. In fact, the ice loss in Amundsen Sea sector shifts the catchment's ice divide toward the Filchner-Ronne and Ross ice shelves, which initiates grounding-line retreat there. Our simulations suggest that if a destabilization of Amundsen Sea sector has indeed been initiated, Antarctica will irrevocably contribute at least 3 m to global sea-level rise during the coming centuries to millennia.

  15. Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin

    PubMed Central

    Feldmann, Johannes; Levermann, Anders

    2015-01-01

    The future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet represents the largest uncertainty in sea-level projections of this and upcoming centuries. Recently, satellite observations and high-resolution simulations have suggested the initiation of an ice-sheet instability in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica, caused by the last decades’ enhanced basal ice-shelf melting. Whether this localized destabilization will yield a full discharge of marine ice from West Antarctica, associated with a global sea-level rise of more than 3 m, or whether the ice loss is limited by ice dynamics and topographic features, is unclear. Here we show that in the Parallel Ice Sheet Model, a local destabilization causes a complete disintegration of the marine ice in West Antarctica. In our simulations, at 5-km horizontal resolution, the region disequilibrates after 60 y of currently observed melt rates. Thereafter, the marine ice-sheet instability fully unfolds and is not halted by topographic features. In fact, the ice loss in Amundsen Sea sector shifts the catchment's ice divide toward the Filchner–Ronne and Ross ice shelves, which initiates grounding-line retreat there. Our simulations suggest that if a destabilization of Amundsen Sea sector has indeed been initiated, Antarctica will irrevocably contribute at least 3 m to global sea-level rise during the coming centuries to millennia. PMID:26578762

  16. Ice sheets play important role in climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Peter U.; MacAyeal, Douglas R.; Andrews, John T.; Bartlein, Patrick J.

    Ice sheets once were viewed as passive elements in the climate system enslaved to orbitally generated variations in solar radiation. Today, modeling results and new geologic records suggest that ice sheets actively participated in late-Pleistocene climate change, amplifying or driving significant variability at millennial as well as orbital timescales. Although large changes in global ice volume were ultimately caused by orbital variations (the Milankovitch hypothesis), once in existence, the former ice sheets behaved dynamically and strongly influenced regional and perhaps even global climate by altering atmospheric and oceanic circulation and temperature.Experiments with General Circulation Models (GCMs) yielded the first inklings of ice sheets' climatic significance. Manabe and Broccoli [1985], for example, found that the topographic and albedo effects of ice sheets alone explain much of the Northern Hemisphere cooling identified in paleoclimatic records of the last glacial maximum (˜21 ka).

  17. Improving Constraints on Paleo Ice Sheets in the Amundsen Sea Embayment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larter, Robert D.; Gohl, Karsten; Bentley, Michael J.

    2010-01-01

    Amundsen Sea Embayment: Tectonic and Climatic Evolution; Granada, Spain, 9 September 2009; Geoscientists working on the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) of West Antarctica met at a workshop during the First Antarctic Climate Evolution Symposium to discuss recent advances from, and future priorities for, work in this region. The ASE is the most rapidly changing sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and contains enough ice to raise sea level by 1.2 meters. Ice sheet modeling studies suggest that this sector of the WAIS is potentially unstable. Considerable efforts have been made through several national Antarctic programs to acquire new data on the geological structure, subglacial topography, bathymetry, and glacial history of this remote region. These data are important for establishing boundary conditions for ice sheet modeling, for providing constraints on past ice sheet changes that can be used to test models, and for putting recent changes into a longer-term context.

  18. Ice-sheet mass balance and climate change.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Edward; Navarro, Francisco J; Pattyn, Frank; Domingues, Catia M; Fettweis, Xavier; Ivins, Erik R; Nicholls, Robert J; Ritz, Catherine; Smith, Ben; Tulaczyk, Slawek; Whitehouse, Pippa L; Zwally, H Jay

    2013-06-06

    Since the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, new observations of ice-sheet mass balance and improved computer simulations of ice-sheet response to continuing climate change have been published. Whereas Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing pace, current Antarctic ice loss is likely to be less than some recently published estimates. It remains unclear whether East Antarctica has been gaining or losing ice mass over the past 20 years, and uncertainties in ice-mass change for West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula remain large. We discuss the past six years of progress and examine the key problems that remain.

  19. Laurentide ice sheet dynamics during the last glacial period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montoya, M.; Alvarez-Solas, J.; Robinson, A.; Banderas, R.

    2016-12-01

    Heinrich events (HEs) are interpreted as the result of massive large-scale ice discharges from the Laurentice ice sheet (LIS) into the North Atlantic that occurred during the Last Glacial Period (LGP). Classically they have been attributed to internal oscillations of the LIS, a mechanism that has been mimicked using three-dimensional ice-sheet models within the Shallow Ice Approximation (SIA) together with a modified basal sliding parameterisation accounting for enhanced ice-flow over a melting ice bed. However, recent studies using hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf models with more comprehensive dynamics combining the SIA and the Shallow Shelf Approximation (SSA) have proposed an alternative explanation involving the effects of oceanic circulation changes on the ice shelves. Up to now the plausibility of internal LIS instabilities in a hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf model combining SSA and SIA has seldom been investigated. Here we address this issue in the framework of the LGP by modifying the dynamics in a hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf model to mimick two different levels of complexity. We firstly suppress the binary mode mixture of sheet and stream ice in order to mimick the SIA, and include a basal sliding parameterisation. Under constant external climate forcing, quasi-periodic LIS instabilities are simulated in response to internal basal temperature oscillations. We then consider a more realistic dynamical formulation by incorporating the treatment of ice flow under the SSA. Internal basal temperature oscillations, and thereby LIS instabilities, are found to vanish under constant external forcing. Our results demonstrate how accounting for the longitudinal stresses of the ice streams, which is not possible within the pure SIA, is critical to stabilize ice flow and prevents the occurrence of the binge-purge oscillations.

  20. Rapid Holocene thinning of an East Antarctic outlet glacier driven by marine ice sheet instability.

    PubMed

    Jones, R S; Mackintosh, A N; Norton, K P; Golledge, N R; Fogwill, C J; Kubik, P W; Christl, M; Greenwood, S L

    2015-11-26

    Outlet glaciers grounded on a bed that deepens inland and extends below sea level are potentially vulnerable to 'marine ice sheet instability'. This instability, which may lead to runaway ice loss, has been simulated in models, but its consequences have not been directly observed in geological records. Here we provide new surface-exposure ages from an outlet of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that reveal rapid glacier thinning occurred approximately 7,000 years ago, in the absence of large environmental changes. Glacier thinning persisted for more than two and a half centuries, resulting in hundreds of metres of ice loss. Numerical simulations indicate that ice surface drawdown accelerated when the otherwise steadily retreating glacier encountered a bedrock trough. Together, the geological reconstruction and numerical simulations suggest that centennial-scale glacier thinning arose from unstable grounding line retreat. Capturing these instability processes in ice sheet models is important for predicting Antarctica's future contribution to sea level change.

  1. Rapid Holocene thinning of an East Antarctic outlet glacier driven by marine ice sheet instability

    PubMed Central

    Jones, R. S.; Mackintosh, A. N.; Norton, K. P.; Golledge, N. R.; Fogwill, C. J.; Kubik, P. W.; Christl, M.; Greenwood, S. L.

    2015-01-01

    Outlet glaciers grounded on a bed that deepens inland and extends below sea level are potentially vulnerable to ‘marine ice sheet instability'. This instability, which may lead to runaway ice loss, has been simulated in models, but its consequences have not been directly observed in geological records. Here we provide new surface-exposure ages from an outlet of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that reveal rapid glacier thinning occurred approximately 7,000 years ago, in the absence of large environmental changes. Glacier thinning persisted for more than two and a half centuries, resulting in hundreds of metres of ice loss. Numerical simulations indicate that ice surface drawdown accelerated when the otherwise steadily retreating glacier encountered a bedrock trough. Together, the geological reconstruction and numerical simulations suggest that centennial-scale glacier thinning arose from unstable grounding line retreat. Capturing these instability processes in ice sheet models is important for predicting Antarctica's future contribution to sea level change. PMID:26608558

  2. Using cosmogenic exposure dates to evaluate modeled Greenland Ice Sheet behavior

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Applegate, P. J.; Kirchner, N.

    2012-04-01

    Cosmogenic exposure dates represent an untapped data set for evaluation and calibration of ice sheet models on Greenland. Ice sheet models contain simplified numerical descriptions of many processes affecting real ice sheets, including ice flow, surface mass balance, isostasy, and basal sliding. These models provide a crucial means of filling spatial and temporal gaps between paleo-data, and projecting the future behavior of ice sheets in a warming world. Such models must be tuned to data before their results can be considered reliable. Cosmogenic exposure dating of bedrock, erratic boulders, and trimlines on nunataks in Antarctica is often used to tune ice sheet models, but this approach has not been applied in Greenland due to the lack of appropriate topographic "dipsticks." Here, we demonstrate how cosmogenic exposure dates can be used to evaluate ice sheet model results in Greenland. Our starting point is a recently-published, 125 ka-long run with the ice sheet model SICOPOLIS (sicopolis.greveweb.net; Greve et al. 2011, Annals of Glaciology 52, 23-30). For each 10 km square ice sheet model grid cell that contains exposure dates, we project the elevations of the sample sites onto a hypsometric curve constructed using a finer-resolution digital elevation model. The hypsometric curve and the modeled history of ice thickness within each grid box determines when each sampled point became exposed. We then compare the model-predicted exposure times to the cosmogenic-derived apparent exposure times. Model-data agreement is relatively good where and when the margin is terrestrial (near Kangerlussuaq in western Greenland), but poorer where the ice margin interacts with the water (near Jakobshavn, on Store Koldewey Island, and in Scoresby Sund). We comment on the partitioning of residuals between model problems and geomorphic issues in the data. This work is novel because it 1) provides a new methodology for comparing ice sheet model results to chronologic data, and 2

  3. Modeling the fracture of ice sheets on parallel computers.

    SciTech Connect

    Waisman, Haim; Bell, Robin; Keyes, David; Boman, Erik Gunnar; Tuminaro, Raymond Stephen

    2010-03-01

    The objective of this project is to investigate the complex fracture of ice and understand its role within larger ice sheet simulations and global climate change. At the present time, ice fracture is not explicitly considered within ice sheet models due in part to large computational costs associated with the accurate modeling of this complex phenomena. However, fracture not only plays an extremely important role in regional behavior but also influences ice dynamics over much larger zones in ways that are currently not well understood. Dramatic illustrations of fracture-induced phenomena most notably include the recent collapse of ice shelves in Antarctica (e.g. partial collapse of the Wilkins shelf in March of 2008 and the diminishing extent of the Larsen B shelf from 1998 to 2002). Other fracture examples include ice calving (fracture of icebergs) which is presently approximated in simplistic ways within ice sheet models, and the draining of supraglacial lakes through a complex network of cracks, a so called ice sheet plumbing system, that is believed to cause accelerated ice sheet flows due essentially to lubrication of the contact surface with the ground. These dramatic changes are emblematic of the ongoing change in the Earth's polar regions and highlight the important role of fracturing ice. To model ice fracture, a simulation capability will be designed centered around extended finite elements and solved by specialized multigrid methods on parallel computers. In addition, appropriate dynamic load balancing techniques will be employed to ensure an approximate equal amount of work for each processor.

  4. Boundary layer stability acts to ballast the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berkelhammer, M. B.; Noone, D. C.; Steen-Larsen, H. C.; O'Neill, M.; Raudzens Bailey, A.; Cox, C.; Schneider, D. P.

    2014-12-01

    The mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet has been reduced over recent decades as a consequence of warming, the impact of which is already detectable on global sea level. However, temperature projections suggest that at interior high-altitude sites on the ice it could be decades or more before warming forces these regions to transition from a dry to wet snow facies. Shifts in boundary layer dynamics, including atmosphere-ice sheet hydrological exchange and cloud radiative forcing could expedite or delay this transition. These processes are important with respect to future ice sheet stability, yet they remain difficult to constrain. Using continuous in situ measurements of vertical profiles of the isotopic composition of water vapor at Summit Camp, the highest observatory on the ice sheet, we document the presence of a hydrologic balance between surface sublimation and condensation fluxes. This exists because of a nearly persistent temperature inversion, which hinders the efficiency with which surface water vapor mixes into the free atmosphere. In the presence of a strong temperature inversion, fog and ice particles form near the ice-atmosphere interface from surface moisture fluxes. When this condensate precipitates on or settles to the surface, it ballasts the ice sheet's mass. A decade-long trend towards lower annual accumulation at Summit may therefore reflect continuous replacement of the near surface atmosphere due to reduced atmospheric stability. If this tendency toward destabilization continues, it could accelerate mass loss at interior sites on the ice sheet. The role of boundary layer stability in ice sheet hydrological budgets discussed here is applicable beyond the accumulation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  5. History of the Greenland Ice Sheet: paleoclimatic insights

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alley, Richard B.; Andrews, John T.; Brigham-Grette, J.; Clarke, G.K.C.; Cuffey, Kurt M.; Fitzpatrick, J.J.; Funder, S.; Marshall, S.J.; Miller, G.H.; Mitrovica, J.X.; Muhs, D.R.; Otto-Bliesner, B. L.; Polyak, L.; White, J.W.C.

    2010-01-01

    Paleoclimatic records show that the GreenlandIce Sheet consistently has lost mass in response to warming, and grown in response to cooling. Such changes have occurred even at times of slow or zero sea-level change, so changing sea level cannot have been the cause of at least some of the ice-sheet changes. In contrast, there are no documented major ice-sheet changes that occurred independent of temperature changes. Moreover, snowfall has increased when the climate warmed, but the ice sheet lost mass nonetheless; increased accumulation in the ice sheet's center has not been sufficient to counteract increased melting and flow near the edges. Most documented forcings and ice-sheet responses spanned periods of several thousand years, but limited data also show rapid response to rapid forcings. In particular, regions near the ice margin have responded within decades. However, major changes of central regions of the ice sheet are thought to require centuries to millennia. The paleoclimatic record does not yet strongly constrain how rapidly a major shrinkage or nearly complete loss of the ice sheet could occur. The evidence suggests nearly total ice-sheet loss may result from warming of more than a few degrees above mean 20th century values, but this threshold is poorly defined (perhaps as little as 2 °C or more than 7 °C). Paleoclimatic records are sufficiently sketchy that the ice sheet may have grown temporarily in response to warming, or changes may have been induced by factors other than temperature, without having been recorded.

  6. The Last Interglacial History of the Antarctic Ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, Sarah; Siddall, Mark; Milne, Glenn A.; Masson-Delmotte, Valerie; Wolff, Eric; Hindmarsh, Richard C. A.

    2014-05-01

    In this paper we present a summary of the work which was conducted as part of the 'PAST4FUTURE -WP4.1: Sea Level and Ice sheets' project. The overall aim of this study was to understand the response of the Antarctic Ice sheet (AIS) to climate forcing during the Last interglacial (LIG) and its contribution to the observed higher than present sea level during this period. The study involved the application and development of a novel technique which combined East Antarctic stable isotope ice core data with the output from a Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) model [Bradley et al., 2012]. We investigated if the stable isotope ice core data are sensitive to detecting isostatically driven changes in the surface elevation driven by changes in the ice-loading history of the AIS and if so, could we address some key questions relating to the LIG history of the AIS. Although it is believed that the West Antarctic Ice sheet (WAIS) reduced in size during the LIG compared to the Holocene, major uncertainties and unknowns remain unresolved: Did the WAIS collapse? What would the contribution of such a collapse be the higher than present LIG eustatic sea level (ESL)? We will show that a simulated collapse of the WAIS does not generate a significant elevation driven signal at the EAIS LIG ice core sites, and as such, these ice core records cannot be used to assess WAIS stability over this period. However, we will present 'treasure maps' [Bradley et al., 2012] to identify regions of the AIS where results from geological studies and/or new paleoclimate data may be sensitive to detecting a WAIS collapse. These maps can act as a useful tool for the wider science community/field scientists as a guide to highlight sites suitable to constrain the evolution of the WAIS during the LIG. Studies have proposed that the surface temperature across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) was significantly warmer, 2-5°C during the LIG compared to present [Lang and Wolff, 2011]. These higher

  7. Results of the Greenland ice sheet model initialisation experiments: ISMIP6 - initMIP-Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goelzer, Heiko; Nowicki, Sophie; Edwards, Tamsin; Beckley, Matthew

    2017-04-01

    Ice sheet model initialisation has a large effect on projected future sea-level contributions and gives rise to important uncertainties. The goal of this intercomparison exercise for the continental-scale Greenland ice sheet is therefore to compare, evaluate and improve the initialisation techniques used in the ice sheet modelling community. The initMIP-Greenland project is the first in a series of ice sheet model intercomparison activities within ISMIP6 (Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6). The experimental set-up has been designed to allow comparison of the initial present-day state of the Greenland ice sheet between participating models and against observations. Furthermore, the initial states are tested with two schematic forward experiments to evaluate the initialisation in terms of model drift (forward run without any forcing) and response to a large perturbation (prescribed surface mass balance anomaly). We present and discuss results that highlight the wide diversity of data sets, boundary conditions and initialisation techniques used in the community to generate initial states of the Greenland ice sheet.

  8. Gas isotopes in ice reveal a vegetated central Greenland during ice sheet invasion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Souchez, R.; Jouzel, J.; Landais, A.; Chappellaz, J.; Lorrain, R.; Tison, J.-L.

    2006-12-01

    Environmental conditions prevailing during build-up of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) are not yet established. Here we use results from gas isotopes from basal ice of the GRIP ice core to show that central Greenland was vegetated during invasion by the ice sheet. The δ 13CCH4 and δ 18O of O2 values obtained were never encountered before in ice core studies. Such values are indeed the signature of a significant biological activity.

  9. Ice-age Ice-sheet Rheology: Constraints from the Last Glacial Maximum Form of the Laurentide Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peltier, W. Richard; Goldsby, David L.; Kohlstedt, David L.; Tarasov, Lev

    2000-01-01

    State-ot-the-art thermomechanical models of the modern Greenland ice and the ancient Laurenticle ice sheet that covered Canada at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) are not able to explain simultaneously the observed forms of these cryospheric structures when the same, anisotropy-enhanced, version of the conventional Glen flow law is employed to describe their rheology. The LGM Laurenticle ice sheet. predicted to develop in response to orbital climate forcing, is such that the ratio of its thickness to its horizontal extent is extremely large compared to the aspect ratio inferred on the basis of surface-geomorphological and solid-earth-geophysical constraints. We show that if the Glen flow law representation of the rheology is replaced with a new rheology based upon very high quality laboratory measurements of the stress-strain-rate relation, then the aspect ratios of both the modern Greenland ice sheet and the Laurenticle ice sheet, that existed at the LGM, are simultaneously explained with little or no retuning of the flow law.

  10. Fully coupled ice sheet-earth system model: How does the Greenlandic ice sheet interact in a changing climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodehacke, C.; Mikolajewicz, U.; Vizcaino, M.

    2012-04-01

    As ice sheets belong to the slowest climate components, they are usually not interactively coupled in current climate models. Therefore, long-term climate projections are incomplete and only the consideration of ice sheet interactions allows tackling fundamental questions, such as how do ice sheets modify the reaction of the climate systems under a strong CO2 forcing? The earth system model MPI-ESM, with the atmosphere model ECHAM6 and ocean model MPIOM, is coupled to the modified ice sheet model PISM. This ice sheet model, which is developed at the University of Fairbanks, represents the ice sheet of Greenland at a horizontal resolution of 10 km. The coupling is performed by calculating the surface mass balance based on 6-hourly atmospheric data to determine the boundary condition for the ice sheet model. The response of the ice sheet to this forcing, which includes orographic changes and fresh water fluxes, are passed back to the ESM. In contrast to commonly used strategies, we use a mass conserving scheme and do therefore neither apply flux corrections nor utilize anomaly coupling. Under a strong CO2 forcing a disintegrating Greenlandic ice sheet contributes to a rising sea level and has the potential to alter the formation of deep water masses in the adjacent formation sites Labrador Sea and Nordic Seas. We will present results for an idealized forcing with a growing atmospheric CO2 concentration that rises by 1% per year until four-times the pre-industrial level has been reached. We will discuss the reaction of the ice sheet and immediate responses of the ocean to ice loss.

  11. Modelling the Climate - Greenland Ice Sheet Interaction in the Coupled Ice-sheet/Climate Model EC-EARTH - PISM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, S.; Madsen, M. S.; Rodehacke, C. B.; Svendsen, S. H.; Adalgeirsdottir, G.

    2014-12-01

    Recent observations show that the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has been losing mass with an increasing speed during the past decades. Predicting the GrIS changes and their climate consequences relies on the understanding of the interaction of the GrIS with the climate system on both global and local scales, and requires climate model systems with an explicit and physically consistent ice sheet module. A fully coupled global climate model with a dynamical ice sheet model for the GrIS has recently been developed. The model system, EC-EARTH - PISM, consists of the EC-EARTH, an atmosphere, ocean and sea ice model system, and the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM). The coupling of PISM includes a modified surface physical parameterization in EC-EARTH adapted to the land ice surface over glaciated regions in Greenland. The PISM ice sheet model is forced with the surface mass balance (SMB) directly computed inside the EC-EARTH atmospheric module and accounting for the precipitation, the surface evaporation, and the melting of snow and ice over land ice. PISM returns the simulated basal melt, ice discharge and ice cover (extent and thickness) as boundary conditions to EC-EARTH. This coupled system is mass and energy conserving without being constrained by any anomaly correction or flux adjustment, and hence is suitable for investigation of ice sheet - climate feedbacks. Three multi-century experiments for warm climate scenarios under (1) the RCP85 climate forcing, (2) an abrupt 4xCO2 and (3) an idealized 1% per year CO2 increase are performed using the coupled model system. The experiments are compared with their counterparts of the standard CMIP5 simulations (without the interactive ice sheet) to evaluate the performance of the coupled system and to quantify the GrIS feedbacks. In particular, the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet under the warm climate and its impacts on the climate system are investigated. Freshwater fluxes from the Greenland ice sheet melt to the Arctic

  12. Phreatomagmatic eruptions under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: potential hazard for ice sheet stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iverson, N. A.; Dunbar, N. W.; Lieb-Lappen, R.; Kim, E. J.; Golden, E. J.; Obbard, R. W.

    2014-12-01

    Volcanic tephra layers have been seen in most ice cores in Antarctica. These tephra layers are deposited almost instantaneously across wide areas of ice sheets, creating horizons that can provide "pinning points" to adjust ice time scales that may otherwise be lacking detailed chronology. A combination of traditional particle morphology characterization by SEM with new non-destructive X-ray micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT) has been used to analyze selected coarse grained tephra in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide WDC06A ice core. Micro-CT has the ability to image particles as small as 50µm in length (15µm resolution), quantifying both particle shape and size. The WDC06A contains hundreds of dusty layers of which 36 have so far been identified as primary tephra layers. Two of these tephra layers have been characterized as phreatomagmatic eruptions based on SEM imagery and are blocky and platy in nature, with rare magmatic particles. These layers are strikingly different in composition from the typical phonolitic and trachytic tephra produced from West Antarctic volcanoes. These two layers are coarser in grain size, with many particles (including feldspar crystals) exceeding 100µm in length. One tephra layer found at 3149.138m deep in the ice core is a coarse ~1mm thick basanitic tephra layer with a WDC06-7 ice core age of 45,381±2000yrs. The second layer is a ~1.3 cm thick zoned trachyandesite to trachydacite tephra found at 2569.205m deep with an ice core age 22,470±835yrs. Micro-CT analysis shows that WDC06A-3149.138 has normal grading with the largest particles at the bottom of the sample (~160μm). WDC06A-2569.205 has a bimodal distribution of particles with large particles at the top and bottom of the layer. These large particles are more spherical in shape at the base and become more irregular and finer grained higher in the layer, likely showing changes in eruption dynamics. The distinct chemistry as well as the blocky and large grain size

  13. Progress and Challenges in Coupled Ice-Sheet/Climate Modeling with CESM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fyke, J. G.; Sacks, W.; Vizcaino, M.; Lipscomb, W. H.; Price, S. F.

    2014-12-01

    Bidirectional coupling of ice sheet models and climate models opens the door to research of ice-sheet/climate interaction at a global scale. However, difficulties encountered in achieving this coupling have proven non-trivial and include both: 1) Technical challenges. Ocean and atmosphere model components cannot easily handle dynamic boundaries; land surface model components cannot easily simulate exposed glacial ice, firn evolution, or evolving land surfaces; coupling infrastructure cannot easily accept new earth system components; and ice sheet models typically operate at an order of magnitude higher spatial resolution than climate models and on regional domains, and require very long integrations to reach an equilibrium state. 2) Scientific challenges. The glaciological modeling and climate modeling communities often work on topics that cover very different spatiotemporal scales; carry out research using very different models and with very different modeling paradigms; and do not consider coupled ice-sheet/climate behavior across the various ice-sheet/climate physical interfaces. These technical and scientific challenges are being tackled within the Community Earth System Model. The resulting coupled architecture ("CESM-CISM") is now capable of simulating the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) in the climate system. The model includes a relatively sophisticated representation of surface mass balance (SMB), explicit resolution of important ice-sheet climate communication pathways, and prognostic ice dynamics. First results, underpinned by modelled SMB validation, have explored changes in GrIS mean SMB and its variability, partially-coupled GrIS evolution, and emergence of an anthropogenic signal in SMB under RCP8.5 climate forcing. Ongoing work with the evolving CESM-CISM will set the stage for fully-coupled simulations of Greenland in past and future climates, and also for potential integration of the Antarctic ice sheet into a true coupled modeling framework.

  14. A persistent and dynamic East Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 7.5 million years.

    PubMed

    Bierman, Paul R; Shakun, Jeremy D; Corbett, Lee B; Zimmerman, Susan R; Rood, Dylan H

    2016-12-07

    Climate models show that ice-sheet melt will dominate sea-level rise over the coming centuries, but our understanding of ice-sheet variations before the last interglacial 125,000 years ago remains fragmentary. This is because terrestrial deposits of ancient glacial and interglacial periods are overrun and eroded by more recent glacial advances, and are therefore usually rare, isolated and poorly dated. In contrast, material shed almost continuously from continents is preserved as marine sediment that can be analysed to infer the time-varying state of major ice sheets. Here we show that the East Greenland Ice Sheet existed over the past 7.5 million years, as indicated by beryllium and aluminium isotopes ((10)Be and (26)Al) in quartz sand removed by deep, ongoing glacial erosion on land and deposited offshore in the marine sedimentary record. During the early Pleistocene epoch, ice cover in East Greenland was dynamic; in contrast, East Greenland was mostly ice-covered during the mid-to-late Pleistocene. The isotope record we present is consistent with distinct signatures of changes in ice sheet behaviour coincident with major climate transitions. Although our data are continuous, they are from low-deposition-rate sites and sourced only from East Greenland. Consequently, the signal of extensive deglaciation during short, intense interglacials could be missed or blurred, and we cannot distinguish between a remnant ice sheet in the East Greenland highlands and a diminished continent-wide ice sheet. A clearer constraint on the behaviour of the ice sheet during past and, ultimately, future interglacial warmth could be produced by (10)Be and (26)Al records from a coring site with a higher deposition rate. Nonetheless, our analysis challenges the possibility of complete and extended deglaciation over the past several million years.

  15. A persistent and dynamic East Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 7.5 million years

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bierman, Paul R.; Shakun, Jeremy D.; Corbett, Lee B.; Zimmerman, Susan R.; Rood, Dylan H.

    2016-12-01

    Climate models show that ice-sheet melt will dominate sea-level rise over the coming centuries, but our understanding of ice-sheet variations before the last interglacial 125,000 years ago remains fragmentary. This is because terrestrial deposits of ancient glacial and interglacial periods are overrun and eroded by more recent glacial advances, and are therefore usually rare, isolated and poorly dated. In contrast, material shed almost continuously from continents is preserved as marine sediment that can be analysed to infer the time-varying state of major ice sheets. Here we show that the East Greenland Ice Sheet existed over the past 7.5 million years, as indicated by beryllium and aluminium isotopes (10Be and 26Al) in quartz sand removed by deep, ongoing glacial erosion on land and deposited offshore in the marine sedimentary record. During the early Pleistocene epoch, ice cover in East Greenland was dynamic; in contrast, East Greenland was mostly ice-covered during the mid-to-late Pleistocene. The isotope record we present is consistent with distinct signatures of changes in ice sheet behaviour coincident with major climate transitions. Although our data are continuous, they are from low-deposition-rate sites and sourced only from East Greenland. Consequently, the signal of extensive deglaciation during short, intense interglacials could be missed or blurred, and we cannot distinguish between a remnant ice sheet in the East Greenland highlands and a diminished continent-wide ice sheet. A clearer constraint on the behaviour of the ice sheet during past and, ultimately, future interglacial warmth could be produced by 10Be and 26Al records from a coring site with a higher deposition rate. Nonetheless, our analysis challenges the possibility of complete and extended deglaciation over the past several million years.

  16. Collapse of polar ice sheets during the stage 11 interglacial.

    PubMed

    Raymo, Maureen E; Mitrovica, Jerry X

    2012-03-14

    Contentious observations of Pleistocene shoreline features on the tectonically stable islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas have suggested that sea level about 400,000 years ago was more than 20 metres higher than it is today. Geochronologic and geomorphic evidence indicates that these features formed during interglacial marine isotope stage (MIS) 11, an unusually long interval of warmth during the ice age. Previous work has advanced two divergent hypotheses for these shoreline features: first, significant melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, in addition to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Greenland Ice Sheet; or second, emplacement by a mega-tsunami during MIS 11 (ref. 4, 5). Here we show that the elevations of these features are corrected downwards by ∼10 metres when we account for post-glacial crustal subsidence of these sites over the course of the anomalously long interglacial. On the basis of this correction, we estimate that eustatic sea level rose to ∼6-13 m above the present-day value in the second half of MIS 11. This suggests that both the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed during the protracted warm period while changes in the volume of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet were relatively minor, thereby resolving the long-standing controversy over the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during MIS 11.

  17. Monitoring southwest Greenland's ice sheet melt with ambient seismic noise.

    PubMed

    Mordret, Aurélien; Mikesell, T Dylan; Harig, Christopher; Lipovsky, Bradley P; Prieto, Germán A

    2016-05-01

    The Greenland ice sheet presently accounts for ~70% of global ice sheet mass loss. Because this mass loss is associated with sea-level rise at a rate of 0.7 mm/year, the development of improved monitoring techniques to observe ongoing changes in ice sheet mass balance is of paramount concern. Spaceborne mass balance techniques are commonly used; however, they are inadequate for many purposes because of their low spatial and/or temporal resolution. We demonstrate that small variations in seismic wave speed in Earth's crust, as measured with the correlation of seismic noise, may be used to infer seasonal ice sheet mass balance. Seasonal loading and unloading of glacial mass induces strain in the crust, and these strains then result in seismic velocity changes due to poroelastic processes. Our method provides a new and independent way of monitoring (in near real time) ice sheet mass balance, yielding new constraints on ice sheet evolution and its contribution to global sea-level changes. An increased number of seismic stations in the vicinity of ice sheets will enhance our ability to create detailed space-time records of ice mass variations.

  18. The Eurasian Ice Sheet and the deglaciation of western Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svendsen, John Inge; Mangerud, Jan; Briner, Jason; Hughes, Anna L. C.; Lohne, Øystein S.; Goehring, Brent M.; Gyllencreutz, Richard

    2013-04-01

    New time-slice reconstructions of the Eurasian Ice Sheet limits reveal that the timing of both the maximum ice sheet extent and the subsequent retreat were spatially variable. This variability most likely reflects regional contrasts in geographic setting, internal ice sheet dynamics and the forcing mechanisms. Here we report fresh results from an ongoing field campaign in southern Norway. The inferred ice sheet history is based on a number of radiocarbon dates from various geological contexts as well cosmogenic nuclide (CN) dating of glacially transported boulders. We discuss the ice-recession along the western flank of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and until the final deglaciation of the fjords. One important conclusion is that the ice stream that occupied the Norwegian Trough, and that was active during the LGM, broke up extremely rapid at around 20 ka leaving the islands Utsira and Karmøy permanently ice free. The adjacent areas of the Norwegian mainland remained ice covered for another 4 thousand years until about 16 ka when the ice margin along the coast gradually started to retreat eastwards. However, this second stage of ice sheet retreat was interrupted by several re-advances. The largest advance probably peaked at the very end of the Younger Dryas stadial (11.6 ka) forming a system of prominent end moraines along the coast. The outlet glaciers that filled the main fjord troughs during this event started to break up very rapidly by means of calving at the onset of the Holocene warming, evidently a climatic response. The main fjords became totally ice free not later than 500 years into the Holocene, and a thousand years later the remaining part of the ice sheet was gone. It is calculated that the melting during the early Holocene (11.6-10.0 ka) was more than ten times faster than at Greenland today.

  19. Self-inhibiting growth of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langen, P. L.; Solgaard, A. M.; Hvidberg, C. S.

    2012-04-01

    The build-up of the Greenland Ice Sheet from ice free conditions is studied in an ice sheet model (ISM) driven by fields from an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM). Experiments where the two are coupled offline are performed and augmented by one where an intermediate ice sheet configuration, taken as a snap shot during the regrowth in the ISM, is coupled back to the GCM. It is found that several open questions regarding reversibility or irreversibility of a disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet may be reconciled with these experiments. Running the ISM with GCM fields corresponding to a present day ice sheet configuration leads to regrowth, while considerations of the GCM's snow accumulation in an ice free run point to irreversibility. Forcing the ISM with the GCM fields corresponding to the ice free state leads to extensive regrowth which, however, is halted when an intermediate recoupling step is included. This inhibition of further growth is believed to be due to a Föhn effect of moist air parcels being lifted over the intermediate ice sheet and arriving in the Greenland interior with high temperatures.

  20. Implications of increased surface melt under global warming scenarios: Greenland ice-sheet simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parizek, B. R.; Alley, R. B.

    2003-04-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet represents ~10% (by volume) of the cryosphere and ~7 meters of sea-level equivalence. Citing the inherent stability offered by the long glaciological timescales involved in classical ice-sheet dynamics, the elevation of the bedrock on which the ice sheet is perched, and the extremely cold inland surface temperatures, numerical studies on the future of this ice sheet under various global-warming scenarios have all but dismissed the potential for substantial dynamic changes in the next millennium. Unlike for the setting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, there were simply no foreseen mechanisms for rapid switches in Greenland's prevailing ice-flow regime. Recently, field observations near the Swiss Camp in west-central Greenland may have offered the essential link between surface temperatures and ice dynamics at and below the equilibrium line that may require the ice sheet to ``listen'' to climate far more closely than previously envisioned by model parameterizations. Zwally et al. (2002) documented correlation between increased ice velocity and increased surface melt (as parameterized by positive degree days (PDD)). They argued that surface water is piped directly to the bed with little delay, causing increased basal-water pressures and basal-sliding velocities. Using the PSU/UofC thermomechanical flowline model, numerous simulations are being conducted to test a wide variety of parameter spaces that link surface melt with a new sliding law under several global warming scenarios. Initial comparisons to the EISMINT Level 3 global-warming benchmark illustrate an enhanced sensitivity of the ice sheet to surface warming resulting in higher ablation rates, thinning of the margin, and a reduction in ice volume that all lead to a positive contribution to global sea-level rise.

  1. Inland thinning of West Antarctic Ice Sheet steered along subglacial rifts.

    PubMed

    Bingham, Robert G; Ferraccioli, Fausto; King, Edward C; Larter, Robert D; Pritchard, Hamish D; Smith, Andrew M; Vaughan, David G

    2012-07-25

    Current ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) accounts for about ten per cent of observed global sea-level rise. Losses are dominated by dynamic thinning, in which forcings by oceanic or atmospheric perturbations to the ice margin lead to an accelerated thinning of ice along the coastline. Although central to improving projections of future ice-sheet contributions to global sea-level rise, the incorporation of dynamic thinning into models has been restricted by lack of knowledge of basal topography and subglacial geology so that the rate and ultimate extent of potential WAIS retreat remains difficult to quantify. Here we report the discovery of a subglacial basin under Ferrigno Ice Stream up to 1.5 kilometres deep that connects the ice-sheet interior to the Bellingshausen Sea margin, and whose existence profoundly affects ice loss. We use a suite of ice-penetrating radar, magnetic and gravity measurements to propose a rift origin for the basin in association with the wider development of the West Antarctic rift system. The Ferrigno rift, overdeepened by glacial erosion, is a conduit which fed a major palaeo-ice stream on the adjacent continental shelf during glacial maxima. The palaeo-ice stream, in turn, eroded the 'Belgica' trough, which today routes warm open-ocean water back to the ice front to reinforce dynamic thinning. We show that dynamic thinning from both the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Sea region is being steered back to the ice-sheet interior along rift basins. We conclude that rift basins that cut across the WAIS margin can rapidly transmit coastally perturbed change inland, thereby promoting ice-sheet instability.

  2. Sea-level response to ice sheet evolution: An ocean perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jacobs, Stanley S.

    1991-01-01

    The ocean's influence upon and response to Antarctic ice sheet changes is considered in relation to sea level rise over recent and future decades. Assuming present day ice fronts are in approximate equilibrium, a preliminary budget for the ice sheet is estimated from accumulation vs. iceberg calving and the basal melting that occurs beneath floating ice shelves. Iceberg calving is derived from the volume of large bergs identified and tracked by the Navy/NOAA Joint Ice Center and from shipboard observations. Basal melting exceeds 600 cu km/yr and is concentrated near the ice fronts and ice shelf grounding lines. An apparent negative mass balance for the Antarctic ice sheet may result from an anomalous calving rate during the past decade, but there are large uncertainties associated with all components of the ice budget. The results from general circulation models are noted in the context of projected precipitation increases and ocean temperature changes on and near the continent. An ocean research program that could help refine budget estimates is consistent with goals of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative.

  3. Seismic evidence for complex sedimentary control of Greenland Ice Sheet flow.

    PubMed

    Kulessa, Bernd; Hubbard, Alun L; Booth, Adam D; Bougamont, Marion; Dow, Christine F; Doyle, Samuel H; Christoffersen, Poul; Lindbäck, Katrin; Pettersson, Rickard; Fitzpatrick, Andrew A W; Jones, Glenn A

    2017-08-01

    The land-terminating margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet has slowed down in recent decades, although the causes and implications for future ice flow are unclear. Explained originally by a self-regulating mechanism where basal slip reduces as drainage evolves from low to high efficiency, recent numerical modeling invokes a sedimentary control of ice sheet flow as an alternative hypothesis. Although both hypotheses can explain the recent slowdown, their respective forecasts of a long-term deceleration versus an acceleration of ice flow are contradictory. We present amplitude-versus-angle seismic data as the first observational test of the alternative hypothesis. We document transient modifications of basal sediment strengths by rapid subglacial drainages of supraglacial lakes, the primary current control on summer ice sheet flow according to our numerical model. Our observations agree with simulations of initial postdrainage sediment weakening and ice flow accelerations, and subsequent sediment restrengthening and ice flow decelerations, and thus confirm the alternative hypothesis. Although simulated melt season acceleration of ice flow due to weakening of subglacial sediments does not currently outweigh winter slowdown forced by self-regulation, they could dominate over the longer term. Subglacial sediments beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet must therefore be mapped and characterized, and a sedimentary control of ice flow must be evaluated against competing self-regulation mechanisms.

  4. Seismic evidence for complex sedimentary control of Greenland Ice Sheet flow

    PubMed Central

    Kulessa, Bernd; Hubbard, Alun L.; Booth, Adam D.; Bougamont, Marion; Dow, Christine F.; Doyle, Samuel H.; Christoffersen, Poul; Lindbäck, Katrin; Pettersson, Rickard; Fitzpatrick, Andrew A. W.; Jones, Glenn A.

    2017-01-01

    The land-terminating margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet has slowed down in recent decades, although the causes and implications for future ice flow are unclear. Explained originally by a self-regulating mechanism where basal slip reduces as drainage evolves from low to high efficiency, recent numerical modeling invokes a sedimentary control of ice sheet flow as an alternative hypothesis. Although both hypotheses can explain the recent slowdown, their respective forecasts of a long-term deceleration versus an acceleration of ice flow are contradictory. We present amplitude-versus-angle seismic data as the first observational test of the alternative hypothesis. We document transient modifications of basal sediment strengths by rapid subglacial drainages of supraglacial lakes, the primary current control on summer ice sheet flow according to our numerical model. Our observations agree with simulations of initial postdrainage sediment weakening and ice flow accelerations, and subsequent sediment restrengthening and ice flow decelerations, and thus confirm the alternative hypothesis. Although simulated melt season acceleration of ice flow due to weakening of subglacial sediments does not currently outweigh winter slowdown forced by self-regulation, they could dominate over the longer term. Subglacial sediments beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet must therefore be mapped and characterized, and a sedimentary control of ice flow must be evaluated against competing self-regulation mechanisms. PMID:28835915

  5. Radiostratigraphy and age structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    PubMed Central

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Fahnestock, Mark A; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Prasad Gogineni, S; Young, S Keith; Rybarski, Susan C; Mabrey, Alexandria N; Wagman, Benjamin M; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-01-01

    Several decades of ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have observed numerous widespread internal reflections. Analysis of this radiostratigraphy has produced valuable insights into ice sheet dynamics and motivates additional mapping of these reflections. Here we present a comprehensive deep radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne deep ice-penetrating radar data collected over Greenland by The University of Kansas between 1993 and 2013. To map this radiostratigraphy efficiently, we developed new techniques for predicting reflection slope from the phase recorded by coherent radars. When integrated along track, these slope fields predict the radiostratigraphy and simplify semiautomatic reflection tracing. Core-intersecting reflections were dated using synchronized depth-age relationships for six deep ice cores. Additional reflections were dated by matching reflections between transects and by extending reflection-inferred depth-age relationships using the local effective vertical strain rate. The oldest reflections, dating to the Eemian period, are found mostly in the northern part of the ice sheet. Within the onset regions of several fast-flowing outlet glaciers and ice streams, reflections typically do not conform to the bed topography. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is also observed in a region north of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream that is not presently flowing rapidly. Dated reflections are used to generate a gridded age volume for most of the ice sheet and also to determine the depths of key climate transitions that were not observed directly. This radiostratigraphy provides a new constraint on the dynamics and history of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Key Points Phase information predicts reflection slope and simplifies reflection tracing Reflections can be dated away from ice cores using a simple ice flow model Radiostratigraphy is often disrupted near the onset of fast ice flow PMID:26213664

  6. Measurements of Past Ice Sheet Elevations in Interior West Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Ackert; Barclay; Borns; Calkin; Kurz; Fastook; Steig

    1999-10-08

    A lateral moraine band on Mount Waesche, a volcanic nunatak in Marie Byrd Land, provides estimates of past ice sheet surface elevations in West Antarctica. Helium-3 and chlorine-36 surface exposure ages indicate that the proximal part of the moraine, up to 45 meters above the present ice surface, was deposited about 10,000 years ago, substantially later than the maximum ice extent in the Ross Embayment. The upper distal part of the moraine may record multiple earlier ice sheet high stands. A nonequilibrium ice sheet model predicts a delay of several thousand years in maximum ice levels at Mount Waesche relative to the maximum ice extent in the Ross Sea. The glacial geologic evidence, coupled with the ice sheet model, indicates that the contribution of the Ross Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to Holocene sea level rise was only about 3 meters. These results eliminate West Antarctic ice as the principle source of the large meltwater pulse during the early Holocene.

  7. Ice Streams as the Critical Link Between the Interior Ice Reservoir of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Global Climate System - a WISSARD Perspective (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tulaczyk, S. M.; Beem, L.; Walter, J. I.; Hossainzadeh, S.; Mankoff, K. D.

    2010-12-01

    Fast flowing ice streams represent crucial features of the Antarctic ice sheet because they provide discharge ‘valves’ for the interior ice reservoir and because their grounding lines are exposed to ocean thermal forcing. Even with no/little topographic control ice flow near the perimeter of a polar ice sheet self-organizes into discrete, fast-flowing ice streams. Within these features basal melting (i.e. lubrication for ice sliding) is sustained through elevated basal shear heating in a region of thin ice that would otherwise be characterized by basal freezing and slow ice motion. Because faster basal ice motion is typically associated with faster subglacial erosion, ice streams tend to localize themselves over time by carving troughs into underlying rocks and sediments. Debris generated by this erosional activity is carried to the continental shelf and/or continental slope where it may be deposited at very high rates, rivaling these associated with deposition by some of the largest rivers on Earth. In terms of their hydrologic and geological functions, Antarctic ice streams play pretty much the same role as rivers do on non-glaciated continents. However, understanding of their dynamics is still quite rudimentary, largely because of the relative inaccessibility of the key basal and marine boundaries of ice streams where pertinent measurements need to be made. The present elevated interest in predicting future contribution of Antarctica to global sea level changes is driving ambitious research programs aimed at scientific exploration of these poorly investigated environments that will play a key role in defining the response of the ice sheet to near future climate changes. We will review one of these programs, the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) with particular focus on its planned contributions to understanding of ice stream dynamics.

  8. Variations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in a coupled ice sheet-Earth-sea level model: sensitivity to viscoelastic Earth properties.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollard, David; Gomez, Natalya; DeConto, Robert

    2017-04-01

    A coupled ice sheet-Earth-sea level model is applied to long-term variations of the Antarctic ice sheet. Five different viscoelastic profiles in the global Earth model are used to explore feedbacks on ice sheet variability, including one with a thin lithosphere and weak upper mantle (LVZ) representative of properties under West Antarctica. These profiles are globally homogeneous, with no lateral variations. Simulations are performed for (1) the deglacial retreat of the last 20,000 years, (2) the future 5000 years with greenhouse-gas scenario RCP8.5, and (3) the warm Pliocene 3 Ma. For the deglacial period a large ensemble of 625 runs is analyzed, with overall scores computed vs. geologic and modern data. For each of the 5 Earth profiles, the top-scoring sets of the other model parameters in the ensemble are used to perform future and Pliocene simulations. There is little difference in the last deglacial retreat between LVZ and the other Earth profiles. In contrast, the LVZ profile produces significantly more negative feedback and less ice retreat in the future and Pliocene runs. This is due to faster timescales of retreat and larger temporal lags of bedrock rebound in the latter runs, allowing the different Earth profiles to have greater influence on ice-sheet retreat. However, the reduced retreat with LVZ occurs primarily in East Antarctic basins, where the LVZ profile may not be realistic, emphasizing the need for lateral heterogeneity in the Earth model.

  9. Refreezing on the Greenland ice sheet: a model comparison

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steger, Christian; Reijmer, Carleen; van den Broeke, Michiel; Ligtenberg, Stefan; Kuipers Munneke, Peter; Noël, Brice

    2016-04-01

    Mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is an important contributor to global sea level rise. Besides calving, surface melt is the dominant source of mass loss. However, only part of the surface melt leaves the ice sheet as runoff whereas the other part percolates into the snow cover and refreezes. Due to this process, part of the meltwater is (intermediately) stored. Refreezing thus impacts the surface mass balance of the ice sheet but it also affects the vertical structure of the snow cover due to transport of mass and energy. Due to the sparse availability of in situ data and the demand of future projections, it is inevitable to use numerical models to simulate refreezing and related processes. Currently, the magnitude of refrozen mass is neither well constrained nor well validated. In this study, we model the snow and firn layer, and compare refreezing on the GrIS as modelled with two different numerical models. Both models are forced with meteorological data from the regional climate model RACMO 2 that has been shown to simulate realistic conditions for Greenland. One model is the UU/IMAU firn densification model (FDM) that can be used both in an on- and offline mode with RACMO 2. The other model is SNOWPACK; a model originally designed to simulate seasonal snow cover in alpine conditions. In contrast to FDM, SNOWPACK accounts for snow metamorphism and microstructure and contains a more physically based snow densification scheme. A first comparison of the models indicates that both seem to be able to capture the general spatial and temporal pattern of refreezing. Spatially, refreezing occurs mostly in the ablation zone and decreases in the accumulation zone towards the interior of the ice sheet. Below the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) where refreezing occurs in seasonal snow cover on bare ice, the storage effect is only intermediate. Temporal patterns on a seasonal range indicate two peaks in refreezing; one at the beginning of the melt season where

  10. Modeling the Fracture of Ice Sheets on Parallel Computers

    SciTech Connect

    Waisman, Haim; Tuminaro, Ray

    2013-10-10

    The objective of this project was to investigate the complex fracture of ice and understand its role within larger ice sheet simulations and global climate change. This objective was achieved by developing novel physics based models for ice, novel numerical tools to enable the modeling of the physics and by collaboration with the ice community experts. At the present time, ice fracture is not explicitly considered within ice sheet models due in part to large computational costs associated with the accurate modeling of this complex phenomena. However, fracture not only plays an extremely important role in regional behavior but also influences ice dynamics over much larger zones in ways that are currently not well understood. To this end, our research findings through this project offers significant advancement to the field and closes a large gap of knowledge in understanding and modeling the fracture of ice sheets in the polar regions. Thus, we believe that our objective has been achieved and our research accomplishments are significant. This is corroborated through a set of published papers, posters and presentations at technical conferences in the field. In particular significant progress has been made in the mechanics of ice, fracture of ice sheets and ice shelves in polar regions and sophisticated numerical methods that enable the solution of the physics in an efficient way.

  11. Thinning of the ice sheet in northwest Greenland over the past forty years.

    PubMed

    Paterson, W S; Reeh, N

    2001-11-01

    Thermal expansion of the oceans, as well as melting of glaciers, ice sheets and ice caps have been the main contributors to global sea level rise over the past century. The greatest uncertainty in predicting future sea level changes lies with our estimates of the mass balance of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Satellite measurements have been used to determine changes in these ice sheets on short timescales, demonstrating that surface-elevation changes on timescales of decades or less result mainly from variations in snow accumulation. Here we present direct measurements of the changes in surface elevation between 1954 and 1995 on a traverse across the north Greenland ice sheet. Measurements over a time interval of this length should reflect changes in ice flow-the important quantity for predicting changes in sea level-relatively unperturbed by short-term fluctuations in snow accumulation. We find only small changes in the eastern part of the transect, except for some thickening of the north ice stream. On the west side, however, the thinning rates of the ice sheet are significantly higher and thinning extends to higher elevations than had been anticipated from previous studies.

  12. Greenland ice sheet variability and sensitivity to forcing during the warm Pliocene A numerical modeling study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koenig, Sebastian Jan

    The cryosphere and its interactions with other components of the climate system are considered to be major influences on global climate change through the Cenozoic and into the future. However, fundamental dynamics and secondary feedbacks that drive long-term ice sheet variability on Greenland remain poorly understood. Here, a numerical climate-ice sheet modeling study is conducted with the aim of reconstructing most likely locations, timing and variability of continental ice in the mid to late Pliocene and the transition into the Pleistocene. Simulations using the GENESIS v3 General Circulation Model coupled to the Penn State Ice Sheet-Shelf Model are compared with a range of independent numerical ice sheet model simulations under Pliocene boundary conditions and validated against available proxy reconstructions. This study aims at investigating the sensitivity of an ice-free and glaciated Greenland to changes in climate forcings, and the modulation of those forcings through internal feedbacks with focus on the dynamical thresholds involved in the growth and retreat of continental ice on Greenland. Orbital changes of latitudinal and seasonal solar radiation, in combination with prevalent atmospheric pCO2 levels, are found to pace the timing of the cryospheric response. Internal feedbacks invoked though local surface characteristics on Greenland in concert with far field changes in Arctic sea surface temperature and sea ice conditions control the energy and moisture budget on Greenland with consequences for its mass balance. In the Pliocene, inception of Greenland ice is inhibited during interglacials and ice volume is limited even when orbits are favorable for ice sheet growth. During Pliocene warmth, a present-day Greenland Ice Sheet cannot be maintained and ice was most likely restricted to the highest elevations in the East and South, contributing ˜6m of equivalent sea level rise. This assessment of the sensitivity and survivability of Greenland Ice Sheet in a

  13. Antarctic marine ice sheet retreat in the Ross Sea during the early Holocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mckay, R. M.; Golledge, N.; Naish, T.; Maas, S.; Levy, R. H.; Kuhn, G.; Lee, J. I.; Dunbar, G. B.

    2015-12-01

    Geological constraints on the timing of the retreat of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) Antarctic Ice Sheets provide critical insights into the processes controlling marine-based ice sheet stability. The over-deepened, seaward shallowing bathymetry of Antarctica's continental shelves is ideally configured to promote past, and potentially future, marine ice-sheet instability. The retreat history of the LGM ice sheet in the Ross Sea region is primarily constrained by C-14 ages on coastal beach ridges and relict penguin colonies along the Transantarctic Mountain front in the Western Ross Sea. Although these terrestrial sites offer more reliable dates than imprecise C-14 chronologies derived from bulk marine sediments, they may reflect retreat of local piedmont glaciers derived from East Antarctic outlet glaciers rather than representing the timing of retreat of the ice sheet in the central Ross Embayment. We present a sedimentary facies succession and foraminifera-based C-14 chronology from a core collected beneath the Ross Ice Shelf via a hot water drill access hole used for the ANDRILL Coulman High site survey. The site is to the east of Ross Island and distal from the coast, and yields a minimum age for glacial retreat that is approximately 1000 yrs earlier than suggested by coastal records along the nearby Victoria Land coast. We examine the implications of this constraint on the timing of ice sheet retreat in the context of model simulations and new multi-beam bathymetry data acquired in the Western Ross Sea. On the basis of these data we hypothesize that marine-based ice sheet retreat was triggered by oceanic forcings along most of the Pacific Ocean coastline of Antarctica simultaneously, but continued retreat in the Ross Sea occurred primarily as a consequence of marine ice sheet instability.

  14. Recent ice sheet mass change observations from GRACE mascon solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luthcke, S. B.; Zwally, H. J.; Rowlands, D. D.; Abdalati, W.; Nerem, R. S.; Ray, R. D.; Lemoine, F.; Chinn, D.

    2006-12-01

    On multi-decadal time scales or longer, the most important processes affecting sea level are those associated with the mass balance over the Earth's ice sheets. The vulnerability of the cryosphere to climate change along with the difficulty in acquiring uniform in situ observations in these inhospitable regions, makes the problem of understanding ice sheet mass trends a high Earth science research priority at NASA. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has acquired ultra-precise inter-satellite ranging data since 2002. These data provide new opportunities to observe and understand ice mass changes at unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. In order to improve upon the ice mass trend observations obtained from GRACE, we have employed unique data analysis approaches to obtain high resolution local mass change (mascon solutions) from GRACE inter-satellite observations alone. We have applied our mascon solution technique to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets estimating surface mass change for irregularly shaped regions defined by the ice sheet drainage basins and further sub-divided by elevation. We estimate the surface mass change of each ice sheet drainage basin sub-divided by elevation at 10-day resolution. We have computed multi-year time series of surface mass change for each ice sheet drainage basin. These mascon solutions provide unprecedented observations of the seasonal and inter-annual evolution of ice-sheet mass flux. In this presentation we discuss our analysis techniques and the details of our ice sheet mascon solutions, as well as compare these results with mass change observations derived from NASA's ICESat mission.

  15. A balanced water layer concept for subglacial hydrology in large scale ice sheet models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goeller, S.; Thoma, M.; Grosfeld, K.; Miller, H.

    2012-12-01

    There is currently no doubt about the existence of a wide-spread hydrological network under the Antarctic ice sheet, which lubricates the ice base and thus leads to increased ice velocities. Consequently, ice models should incorporate basal hydrology to obtain meaningful results for future ice dynamics and their contribution to global sea level rise. Here, we introduce the balanced water layer concept, covering two prominent subglacial hydrological features for ice sheet modeling on a continental scale: the evolution of subglacial lakes and balance water fluxes. We couple it to the thermomechanical ice-flow model RIMBAY and apply it to a synthetic model domain inspired by the Gamburtsev Mountains, Antarctica. In our experiments we demonstrate the dynamic generation of subglacial lakes and their impact on the velocity field of the overlaying ice sheet, resulting in a negative ice mass balance. Furthermore, we introduce an elementary parametrization of the water flux-basal sliding coupling and reveal the predominance of the ice loss through the resulting ice streams against the stabilizing influence of less hydrologically active areas. We point out, that established balance flux schemes quantify these effects only partially as their ability to store subglacial water is lacking.

  16. Evidence for a former large ice sheet in the Orville Coast- Ronne Ice Shelf area, Antarctica.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carrara, P.

    1981-01-01

    The Orville Coast area of the Antarctic Peninsula was extensively glacierized in the past. Striations, polished rock surfaces, and erratics on nunatak summits indicate that this area was covered by a broad regional ice sheet whose grounded ice margin was on the continental shelf, in the present-day Ronne Ice Shelf area. If the glacial history of Antarctica has been controlled by eustatic sea-level changes, the destruction of this ice sheet would have been contemporaneous with that of the Ross Sea ice sheet due to the world-wide rise of eustatic sea-level at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. -Author

  17. Laurentide ice-sheet instability during the last deglaciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ullman, David J.; Carlson, Anders E.; Anslow, Faron S.; Legrande, Allegra N.; Licciardi, Joseph M.

    2015-07-01

    Changes in the amount of summer incoming solar radiation (insolation) reaching the Northern Hemisphere are the underlying pacemaker of glacial cycles. However, not all rises in boreal summer insolation over the past 800,000 years resulted in deglaciation to present-day ice volumes, suggesting that there may be a climatic threshold for the disappearance of land-based ice. Here we assess the surface mass balance stability of the Laurentide ice sheet--the largest glacial ice mass in the Northern Hemisphere--during the last deglaciation (24,000 to 9,000 years ago). We run a surface energy balance model with climate data from simulations with a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model for key time slices during the last deglaciation. We find that the surface mass balance of the Laurentide ice sheet was positive throughout much of the deglaciation, and suggest that dynamic discharge was mainly responsible for mass loss during this time. Total surface mass balance became negative only in the early Holocene, indicating the transition to a new state where ice loss occurred primarily by surface ablation. We conclude that the Laurentide ice sheet remained a viable ice sheet before the Holocene and began to fully deglaciate only once summer temperatures and radiative forcing over the ice sheet increased by 6-7 °C and 16-20 W m-2, respectively, relative to full glacial conditions.

  18. Using palaeoclimate data to improve models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phipps, Steven; King, Matt; Roberts, Jason; White, Duanne

    2017-04-01

    Ice sheet models are the most descriptive tools available to simulate the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS), including its contribution towards changes in global sea level. However, our knowledge of the dynamics of the coupled ice-ocean-lithosphere system is inevitably limited, in part due to a lack of observations. Furthemore, to build computationally efficient models that can be run for multiple millennia, it is necessary to use simplified descriptions of ice dynamics. Ice sheet modelling is therefore an inherently uncertain exercise. The past evolution of the AIS provides an opportunity to constrain the description of physical processes within ice sheet models and, therefore, to constrain our understanding of the role of the AIS in driving changes in global sea level. We use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) to demonstrate how palaeoclimate data can improve our ability to predict the future evolution of the AIS. A 50-member perturbed-physics ensemble is generated, spanning uncertainty in the parameterisations of three key physical processes within the model: (i) the stress balance within the ice sheet, (ii) basal sliding and (iii) calving of ice shelves. A Latin hypercube approach is used to optimally sample the range of uncertainty in parameter values. This perturbed-physics ensemble is used to simulate the evolution of the AIS from the Last Glacial Maximum ( 21,000 years ago) to present. Palaeoclimate records are then used to determine which ensemble members are the most realistic. This allows us to use data on past climates to directly constrain our understanding of the past contribution of the AIS towards changes in global sea level. Critically, it also allows us to determine which ensemble members are likely to generate the most realistic projections of the future evolution of the AIS.

  19. Permafrost-ice-sheet interactions during the Quaternary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willeit, Matteo; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2016-04-01

    Permafrost influences a number of processes which are relevant for local and global climate. For example, it is well known that permafrost plays an important role in global carbon and methane cycles. Less is known about the interaction between permafrost and ice sheets. We recently included a permafrost module in the Earth system model CLIMBER-2 to explore the coupled Northern Hemisphere (NH) permafrost-ice-sheet evolution during the Quaternary. The model has been shown to perform generally well at reproducing present-day permafrost extent and thickness. Modelled permafrost extent at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) agrees well with reconstructions and previous modeling estimates. In a previous study we showed that over the last glacial cycle permafrost has a relatively modest impact on simulated NH ice sheet volume except at LGM, when including permafrost increases ice volume by about 15 m sea level equivalent in our model. This is explained by a delayed melting of the ice base from below by the geothermal heat flux when the ice sheet sits on a porous sediment layer and permafrost has to be melted first. Permafrost affects ice sheet dynamics only when ice extends over areas covered by thick sediments, which is the case at LGM. In transient model simulations of the "40 kyr world" of the early Pleistocene we show that when all continents are covered by a thick sediment layer the response of ice volume to the obliquity component of orbital forcing is enhanced while the response to precession is dampened. We therefore argue that permafrost could have played a role for ice sheet evolution when all continents were covered by a thick sediment layer, as was likely the case in the early Pleistocene before the sediment layer was gradually eroded by expanding ice sheets over parts of northern Canada and Scandinavia.

  20. Global ice-sheet system interlocked by sea level

    SciTech Connect

    Denton, G.H.; Hughes, T.J.; Karlen, W.

    1986-01-01

    Denton and Hughes postulated that sea level linked a global ice-sheet system with both terrestrial and grounded marine components during later Quaternary ice ages. Summer temperature changes near Northern Hemisphere melting margins initiated sea-level fluctuations that controlled marine components in both polar hemispheres. It was further proposed that variations of this ice-sheet system amplified and transmitted Milankovitch summer half-year insolation changes between 45 and 75/sup 0/N into global climatic changes. New tests of this hypothesis implicate sea level as a major control of the areal extent of grounded portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. But factors other than areal changes of the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet may have strongly influenced Southern Hemisphere climate and terminated the last ice age simultaneously in both polar hemispheres. Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked to high-latitude oceans is the most likely candidate, but another potential influence was high-frequency climatic oscillations. It is postulated that variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide acted through an Antarctic ice shelf linked to the grounded ice sheet to produce and terminate Southern Hemisphere ice-age climate. It is further postulated that Milankovitch summer insolation combined with a warm-high frequency oscillation caused marked recession of Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet melting margins and the North Atlantic polar front about 14,000 /sup 14/C yr B.P. This permitted renewed formation of North Atlantic Deep Water, which could well have controlled atmospheric carbon dioxide. Combined melting and consequent sea-level rise from the three warming factors initiated irreversible collapse of the interlocked global ice-sheet system, which was at its largest but most vulnerable configuration.

  1. The environment and evolution of the West Antarctic ice sheet: setting the stage.

    PubMed

    Bindschadler, Robert

    2006-07-15

    The West Antarctic ice sheet is the last ice sheet of the type cradled in a warm, marine geologic basin. Its perimeter stretches into the surrounding seas allowing warmer ocean waters to reach the undersides of its floating ice shelves and its relatively low surface elevation permits snow-carrying storms to extend well into its interior. This special environment has given rise to theories of impending collapse and for the past quarter-century has challenged researchers who seek a quantitative prediction of its future behaviour and the corresponding effect on sea level. Observations confirm changes on a variety of time scales from the quaternary to less than a minute. The dynamics of the ice sheet involve the complex interaction of ice that is warm at its base and cold along the margins of ice streams; subglacial till that is composed of a combination of marine sediment and eroded sedimentary rocks; and water that moves primarily between the ice and bed, but whose flow direction can differ from the direction of ice motion. The pressure of the water system is often sufficient to float the ice sheet locally and small changes in the amount of water in the till can cause it to rapidly switch from very weak to very stiff.

  2. Investigation of Controls on Ice Dynamics in Northeast Greenland from Ice-Thickness Change Record Using Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Csatho, B. M.; Larour, E. Y.; Schenk, A. F.; Schlegel, N.; Duncan, K.

    2015-12-01

    We present a new, complete ice thickness change reconstruction of the NE sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet for 1978-2014, partitioned into changes due to surface processes and ice dynamics. Elevation changes are computed from all available stereoscopic DEMs, and laser altimetry data (ICESat, ATM, LVIS). Surface Mass Balance and firn-compaction estimates are from RACMO2.3. Originating nearly at the divide of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS), the dynamically active North East Ice Stream (NEGIS) is capable of rapidly transmitting ice-marginal forcing far inland. Thus, NEGIS provides a possible mechanism for a rapid drawdown of ice from the ice sheet interior as marginal warming, thinning and retreat continues. Our altimetry record shows accelerating dynamic thinning of Zachariæ Isstrom, initially limited to the deepest part of the fjord near the calving front (1978-2000) and then extending at least 75 km inland. At the same time, changes over the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden (N79) Glacier are negligible. We also detect localized large dynamic changes at higher elevations on the ice sheet. These thickness changes, often occurring at the onset of fast flow, could indicate rapid variations of basal lubrication due to rerouting of subglacial drainage. We investigate the possible causes of the observed spatiotemporal pattern of ice sheet elevation changes using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). This work build on our previous studies examining the sensitivity of ice flow within the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) to key fields, including ice viscosity, basal drag. We assimilate the new altimetry record into ISSM to improve the reconstruction of basal friction and ice viscosity. Finally, airborne geophysical (gravity, magnetic) and ice-penetrating radar data is examined to identify the potential geologic controls on the ice thickness change pattern. Our study provides the first comprehensive reconstruction of ice thickness changes for the entire NEGIS drainage basin during

  3. Effect of rapid grounding line migration investigated with 3D ice sheet-ice shelf models (MISMIP3d)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, F.; Docquier, D.; Durand, G.; Favier, L.; Gagliardini, O.; Hindmarsh, R.; Zwinger, T.; Mismip3d Participants

    2012-04-01

    Understanding and attributing future sea-level changes demands serious efforts on the development of efficient ice sheet-ice shelf models that capture the essential physics and mechanics of grounding line behavior. While semi-analytical solutions for grounding line behavior are available for the flowline case, such solution fails to exist for more complex three-dimensional geometries. A way of evaluating the quality of ice sheet models is to verify them against more complex model solutions under controlled conditions (Marine Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison - MISMIP). Given the computational demands of such models, it is extremely attractive from a computational point of view to use flux/thickness parameterizations in 3d models. Here we investigated the transition between ice sheet and ice shelf with series of different numerical models, ranging from full Stokes (Elmer/Ice) models, pseudo-spectral methods to a 2d vertically integrated finite-difference 'shelfy-stream' model, taking into account grounding line dynamics, and using parameterizations by Schoof (2007) and Pollard and DeConto (2009). Rapid grounding line migration was provoked by changing sliding at the grounding line, resulting in curved grounding lines influenced by lateral effects. We tested whether flux parameterizations are still valid under such conditions, especially when buttressing effects are taken into account. Results of other participants in the intercomparison exercise are presented alongside the initial benchmark results.

  4. Sensitivity of the Ice Sheet System Model to direct surface mass balance forcing over the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlegel, N. J.; Seroussi, H. L.; Morlighem, M.; Larour, E. Y.; Box, J. E.

    2011-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet, which extends south of the Arctic Circle, is vulnerable to temperature perturbations in the Northern Hemisphere, and its complete retreat would raise global sea level by about 7 meters. Models of the ice sheet's past behavior suggest that Greenland's severe retreat was largely responsible for sea-level rise during the last interglacial period. A clear understanding of exactly how the ice sheet responded to past climate change requires a high-degree of spatial resolution, especially within the ice sheet's large drainage basins, as they contain outlets capable of high-velocity flow. The newly developed Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) is a finite-element model capable of simulating transient ice flow on an anisotropic mesh. The adaptable mesh can be refined to higher resolutions in the areas of enhanced ice flow. These features offer a distinct advantage over previous models of the Greenland Ice Sheet, specifically in terms of modeling fast-flowing outlet glaciers. With use of established ISSM capabilities, we examined the sensitivity of Greenland's outlet glaciers to the new Arctic System Reanalysis (ASR) reconstruction of yearly surface mass balance forcing of the last 150 years. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Modeling, Analysis and Prediction (MAP) Program.

  5. The climate - Greenland ice sheet Feedback as simulated by the coupled ice sheet/climate model EC-EARTH - PISM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Shuting; Madsen, Marianne S.; Rodehacke, Christian; Svendsen, Synne H.

    2014-05-01

    Recent observations show that mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet has increased during the past decades, in line with the warming trend in the Arctic. Studies have suggested that the ice sheet mass discharge through fast moving outlet glaciers and ice streams may be triggered by intrusions of warm seawater into fjords, implying the possibility for fjord-terminating glaciers to respond to ocean and atmospheric changes on annual to decadal time scales. Meanwhile, the rapid changes in ice sheet topography and surface runoff could alter the atmospheric and ocean circulation. To understand the interactions of ice sheet and atmosphere and ocean, process based, climate - ice sheet coupled models are needed. Recently a fully coupled global climate model with a dynamical ice sheet model for the Greenland ice sheet, EC-EARTH - PISM, has been developed. The model system consists of the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice model system, EC-EARTH, and the Parallel Ice Sheet Model, PISM. The coupling of the PISM includes a modified surface physical parameterization in EC-EARTH adapted to the land ice surface over glaciated regions in Greenland. The PISM ice sheet model is forced with the surface mass balance (SMB) directly computed inside the EC-EARTH atmospheric module and accounting for the precipitation, the surface evaporation, and the melting of snow and ice over land ice. PISM returns the simulated basal melt, ice discharge and ice cover (extent and thickness) as boundary conditions to EC-EARTH. This coupled system is mass and energy conserving without being constrained by any anomaly correction or flux adjustment, and hence is suitable for investigation of ice sheet - climate feedbacks. PISM is initialized with the standard paleo-climatological spin-up followed by forcing with the EC-EARTH preindustrial climate to reach an equilibrium state with the model preindustrial climate. The EC-EARTH - PISM system is then integrated under preindustrial conditions until it has reached a

  6. Contribution of Greenland ice sheet melting to sea level rise during the last interglacial period: an approach combining ice sheet modelling and proxy data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quiquet, A.; Ritz, C.; Punge, H. J.; Salas y Mélia, D.

    2012-08-01

    In the context of global warming, the contribution of the two major ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland, to global sea level rise is a subject of key importance for the scientific community (4th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, IPCC-AR4, Meehl et al., 2007). By the end of the next century, a 3-5 °C warm up is expected in Greenland. Similar temperatures in this region were reached during the last interglacial (LIG) period due to a change in orbital configuration rather than to anthropogenic forcing. Ice core evidence suggests that the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) has survived this warm period but great uncertainties remain about the total Greenland ice reduction during the LIG and its sea level rise contribution. In order to improve our confidence in future state projections, we first intend to reconstruct the past states of the GIS using ice sheet modelling, and confront the simulations with paleo data. The chosen methodoly of paleoclimate reconstruction is strongly based on proxy data. Proxy data are also used to constrain the ice sheet model during the calibration phase. Our estimates of Greenland melting contribution to sea level rise during the LIG period range from 0.65 to 1.5 m of sea level equivalent.

  7. Modelling heterogeneous meltwater percolation on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ligtenberg, S.

    2015-12-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has experienced an increase of surface meltwater production over the last decades, with the latest record set in the summer of 2012. For current and future ice sheet mass balance assessments, it is important to quantify what part of this meltwater reaches the ocean and contributes to sea level change. Meltwater produced at the surface has several options: it can infiltrate the local firn pack, where it is either stored temporarily or refrozen, or it can run off along the surface or via en-glacial drainage systems. In this study, we focus on the first; more specifically, in which manner meltwater percolates the firn column. Over the past years, GrIS research has shown that meltwater does not infiltrate the firn pack homogeneously (i.e. matrix flow), but that inhomogeneities in horizontal firn layers causes preferential flow paths for meltwater (i.e. piping). Although this process has been observed and studied on a few isolated sites, it has never been examined on the entire GrIS. To do so, we use the firn model IMAU-FDM with new parameterizations for preferential flow, impermeable ice lenses and sub-surface runoff. At the surface, IMAU-FDM is forced with realistic climate data from the regional climate model RACMO2.3. The model results are evaluated with temperatures and density measurements from firn cores across the GrIS. By allowing for heterogeneous meltwater percolation, the model is able to store heat and mass much deeper in the firn column. This is, however, in part counteracted by the inclusion of impermeability of ice lenses, which causes part of the meltwater to run off horizontally.

  8. Basal Dynamics and Internal Structure of Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolovick, Michael J.

    The internal structure of ice sheets reflects the history of flow and deformation experienced by the ice mass. Flow and deformation are controlled by processes occurring within the ice mass and at its boundaries, including surface accumulation or ablation, ice rheology, basal topography, basal sliding, and basal melting or freezing. The internal structure and basal environment of ice sheets is studied with ice-penetrating radar. Recently, radar observations in Greenland and Antarctica have imaged large englacial structures rising from near the bed that deform the overlying stratigraphy into anticlines, synclines, and overturned folds. The mechanisms that may produce these structures include basal freeze-on, travelling slippery patches at the ice base, and rheological contrasts within the ice column. In this thesis, I explore the setting and mechanisms that produce large basal stratigraphic structures inside ice sheets. First, I use radar data to map subglacial hydrologic networks that deliver meltwater uphill towards freeze-on structures in East Antarctica. Next, I use a thermomechanical flowline model to demonstrate that trains of alternating slippery and sticky patches can form underneath ice sheets and travel downstream over time. The disturbances to the ice flow field produced by these travelling patches produce stratigraphic folds resembling the observations. I then examine the overturned folds produced by a single travelling sticky patch using a kinematic flowline model. This model is used to interpret stratigraphic measurements in terms of the dynamic properties of basal slip. Finally, I use a simple local one-dimensional model to estimate the thickness of basal freeze-on that can be produced based on the supply of available meltwater, the thermal boundary conditions, ice sheet geometry, and the ice flow regime.

  9. The sea level response to ice sheet freshwater forcing in the Community Earth System Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slangen, Aimée B. A.; Lenaerts, Jan T. M.

    2016-10-01

    We study the effect of a realistic ice sheet freshwater forcing on sea-level change in the fully coupled Community Earth System Model (CESM) showing not only the effect on the ocean density and dynamics, but also the gravitational response to mass redistribution between ice sheets and the ocean. We compare the ‘standard’ model simulation (NO-FW) to a simulation with a more realistic ice sheet freshwater forcing (FW) for two different forcing scenario’s (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) for 1850-2100. The effect on the global mean thermosteric sea-level change is small compared to the total thermosteric change, but on a regional scale the ocean steric/dynamic change shows larger differences in the Southern Ocean, the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean (locally over 0.1 m). The gravitational fingerprints of the net sea-level contributions of the ice sheets are computed separately, showing a regional pattern with a magnitude that is similar to the difference between the NO-FW and FW simulations of the ocean steric/dynamic pattern. Our results demonstrate the importance of ice sheet mass loss for regional sea-level projections in light of the projected increasing contribution of ice sheets to future sea-level rise.

  10. The sea level response to ice sheet freshwater forcing in the Community Earth System Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slangen, Aimée; Lenaerts, Jan

    2017-04-01

    We show the effect of a realistic ice sheet freshwater forcing on sea-level change in the fully coupled Community Earth System Model (CESM). This not only includes the effect on the ocean density and dynamics, but also the gravitational response to mass redistribution between ice sheets and the ocean. We compare a 'standard' model simulation (NO-FW) to a simulation with a more realistic ice sheet freshwater forcing (FW) for two different climate scenario's (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) for 1850-2100. We find that the effect on the global mean thermosteric sea-level change is small compared to the total thermosteric change, but on a regional scale the ocean steric/dynamic change shows larger differences in the Southern Ocean, the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean (locally over 0.1 m). The gravitational fingerprints of the net sea-level contributions of the ice sheets are computed separately, showing a regional pattern with a magnitude that is similar to the difference between the NO-FW and FW simulations of the ocean steric/dynamic pattern. Our results demonstrate the importance of ice sheet mass loss for regional sea-level projections in light of the projected increasing contribution of ice sheets to future sea-level rise.

  11. Radar attenuation and temperature within the Greenland Ice Sheet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Li, Jilu; Paden, John D; Catania, Ginny A; Clow, Gary D.; Fahnestock, Mark A; Gogineni, Prasad S.; Grimm, Robert E.; Morlighem, Mathieu; Nandi, Soumyaroop; Seroussi, Helene; Stillman, David E

    2015-01-01

    The flow of ice is temperature-dependent, but direct measurements of englacial temperature are sparse. The dielectric attenuation of radio waves through ice is also temperature-dependent, and radar sounding of ice sheets is sensitive to this attenuation. Here we estimate depth-averaged radar-attenuation rates within the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne radar-sounding data and its associated radiostratigraphy. Using existing empirical relationships between temperature, chemistry, and radar attenuation, we then infer the depth-averaged englacial temperature. The dated radiostratigraphy permits a correction for the confounding effect of spatially varying ice chemistry. Where radar transects intersect boreholes, radar-inferred temperature is consistently higher than that measured directly. We attribute this discrepancy to the poorly recognized frequency dependence of the radar-attenuation rate and correct for this effect empirically, resulting in a robust relationship between radar-inferred and borehole-measured depth-averaged temperature. Radar-inferred englacial temperature is often lower than modern surface temperature and that of a steady state ice-sheet model, particularly in southern Greenland. This pattern suggests that past changes in surface boundary conditions (temperature and accumulation rate) affect the ice sheet's present temperature structure over a much larger area than previously recognized. This radar-inferred temperature structure provides a new constraint for thermomechanical models of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  12. Ice sheet topography from retracked ERS-1 altimetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay; Brenner, Anita C.; Dimarzio, John; Seiss, Timothy

    1994-01-01

    An objective of the ERS-1 radar altimeter is to measure the surface topography of the polar ice sheets to a precision on the order of a meter. ERS-1 Waveform Altimeter Product (WAP) data was corrected for several processing errors. A range correction from the WAP waveforms, using the multiparameter retracking algorithm to account for range tracking limitations inherent to radar altimetry, was derived. From crossover analysis, the resulting precision is shown to be about 2.1 m in ocean mode and 2.2 m in ice mode. A topography map, produced with 23 days of corrected data, shows details of the western part of west Antarctic ice sheet and part of the Ross ice shelf including ice divides, ice stream boundaries, and ice shelf grounding lines.

  13. Advances in Measuring Antarctic Sea-Ice Thickness and Ice-Sheet Elevations with ICESat Laser Altimetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zwally, H. Jay

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) has been measuring elevations of the Antarctic ice sheet and sea-ice freeboard elevations with unprecedented accuracy. Since February 20,2003, data has been acquired during three periods of laser operation varying from 36 to 54 days, which is less than the continuous operation of 3 to 5 years planned for the mission. The primary purpose of ICESat is to measure time-series of ice-sheet elevation changes for determination of the present-day mass balance of the ice sheets, study of associations between observed ice changes and polar climate, and estimation of the present and future contributions of the ice sheets to global sea level rise. ICESat data will continue to be acquired for approximately 33 days periods at 3 to 6 month intervals with the second of ICESat's three lasers, and eventually with the third laser. The laser footprints are about 70 m on the surface and are spaced at 172 m along-track. The on-board GPS receiver enables radial orbit determinations to an accuracy better than 5 cm. The orbital altitude is around 600 km at an inclination of 94 degrees with a 8-day repeat pattern for the calibration and validation period, followed by a 91 -day repeat period for the rest of the mission. The expected range precision of single footprint measurements was 10 cm, but the actual range precision of the data has been shown to be much better at 2 to 3 cm. The star-tracking attitude-determination system should enable footprints to be located to 6 m horizontally when attitude calibrations are completed. With the present attitude calibration, the elevation accuracy over the ice sheets ranges from about 30 cm over the low-slope areas to about 80 cm over areas with slopes of 1 to 2 degrees, which is much better than radar altimetry. After the first period of data collection, the spacecraft attitude was controlled to point the laser beam to within 50 m of reference surface tracks over the ice sheets. Detection of ice

  14. Mass Balance Changes and Ice Dynamics of Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets from Laser Altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babonis, G. S.; Csatho, B.; Schenk, T.

    2016-06-01

    During the past few decades the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have lost ice at accelerating rates, caused by increasing surface temperature. The melting of the two big ice sheets has a big impact on global sea level rise. If the ice sheets would melt down entirely, the sea level would rise more than 60 m. Even a much smaller rise would cause dramatic damage along coastal regions. In this paper we report about a major upgrade of surface elevation changes derived from laser altimetry data, acquired by NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite mission (ICESat) and airborne laser campaigns, such as Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS). For detecting changes in ice sheet elevations we have developed the Surface Elevation Reconstruction And Change detection (SERAC) method. It computes elevation changes of small surface patches by keeping the surface shape constant and considering the absolute values as surface elevations. We report about important upgrades of earlier results, for example the inclusion of local ice caps and the temporal extension from 1993 to 2014 for the Greenland Ice Sheet and for a comprehensive reconstruction of ice thickness and mass changes for the Antarctic Ice Sheets.

  15. Radiostratigraphy and age structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    MacGregor, Joseph A; Fahnestock, Mark A; Catania, Ginny A; Paden, John D; Prasad Gogineni, S; Young, S Keith; Rybarski, Susan C; Mabrey, Alexandria N; Wagman, Benjamin M; Morlighem, Mathieu

    2015-02-01

    Several decades of ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have observed numerous widespread internal reflections. Analysis of this radiostratigraphy has produced valuable insights into ice sheet dynamics and motivates additional mapping of these reflections. Here we present a comprehensive deep radiostratigraphy of the Greenland Ice Sheet from airborne deep ice-penetrating radar data collected over Greenland by The University of Kansas between 1993 and 2013. To map this radiostratigraphy efficiently, we developed new techniques for predicting reflection slope from the phase recorded by coherent radars. When integrated along track, these slope fields predict the radiostratigraphy and simplify semiautomatic reflection tracing. Core-intersecting reflections were dated using synchronized depth-age relationships for six deep ice cores. Additional reflections were dated by matching reflections between transects and by extending reflection-inferred depth-age relationships using the local effective vertical strain rate. The oldest reflections, dating to the Eemian period, are found mostly in the northern part of the ice sheet. Within the onset regions of several fast-flowing outlet glaciers and ice streams, reflections typically do not conform to the bed topography. Disrupted radiostratigraphy is also observed in a region north of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream that is not presently flowing rapidly. Dated reflections are used to generate a gridded age volume for most of the ice sheet and also to determine the depths of key climate transitions that were not observed directly. This radiostratigraphy provides a new constraint on the dynamics and history of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

  16. Multistability of the Greenland ice sheet and the effects of an adaptive mass balance formulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solgaard, Anne M.; Langen, Peter L.

    2012-10-01

    The effect of a warmer climate on the Greenland ice sheet as well as its ability to regrow from a reduced geometry is important knowledge when studying future climate. Here we use output from a general circulation model to construct adaptive temperature and precipitation patterns to force an ice flow model off-line taking into consideration that the patterns change in a non-uniform way (both spatially and temporally) as the geometry of the ice sheet evolves and as climate changes. In a series of experiments we investigate the retreat from the present day configuration, build-up from ice free conditions of the ice sheet during a warmer-than-present climate and how the ice sheet moves between states. The adaptive temperature and accumulation patterns as well as two different constant-pattern formulations are applied and all experiments are run to steady state. All results fall into four different groups of geometry regardless of the applied accumulation pattern and initial state. We find that the ice sheet is able to survive and build up at higher temperatures using the more realistic adaptive patterns compared to the classic constant patterns. In contrast, decay occurs at considerably higher temperatures than build-up when the other formulations are used. When studying the motion between states it is clear that the initial state is crucial for the result. The ice sheet is thus multistable at least for certain temperature forcings, and this implies that the ice sheet not does not necessarily return to its initial configuration after a temperature excursion.

  17. Changes in Greenland ice sheet elevation attributed primarily to snow accumulation variability

    PubMed

    McConnell; Arthern; Mosley-Thompson; Davis; Bales; Thomas; Burkhart; Kyne

    2000-08-24

    The response of grounded ice sheets to a changing climate critically influences possible future changes in sea level. Recent satellite surveys over southern Greenland show little overall elevation change at higher elevations, but large spatial variability. Using satellite studies alone, it is not possible to determine the geophysical processes responsible for the observed elevation changes and to decide if recent rates of change exceed the natural variability. Here we derive changes in ice-sheet elevation in southern Greenland, for the years 1978-88, using a physically based model of firn densification and records of annual snow accumulation reconstructed from 12 ice cores at high elevation. Our patterns of accumulation-driven elevation change agree closely with contemporaneous satellite measurements of ice-sheet elevation change, and we therefore attribute the changes observed in 1978-88 to variability in snow accumulation. Similar analyses of longer ice-core records show that in this decade the Greenland ice sheet exhibited typical variability at high elevations, well within the long-term natural variability. Our results indicate that a better understanding of ice-sheet mass changes will require long-term measurements of both surface elevation and snow accumulation.

  18. Oceanic Forcing of Ice-Sheet Retreat: West Antarctica and More

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alley, Richard B.; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar; Christianson, Knut; Horgan, Huw J.; Muto, Atsu; Parizek, Byron R.; Pollard, David; Walker, Ryan T.

    2015-05-01

    Ocean-ice interactions have exerted primary control on the Antarctic Ice Sheet and parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and will continue to do so in the near future, especially through melting of ice shelves and calving cliffs. Retreat in response to increasing marine melting typically exhibits threshold behavior, with little change for forcing below the threshold but a rapid, possibly delayed shift to a reduced state once the threshold is exceeded. For Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica, the threshold may already have been exceeded, although rapid change may be delayed by centuries, and the reduced state will likely involve loss of most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, causing >3 m of sea-level rise. Because of shortcomings in physical understanding and available data, uncertainty persists about this threshold and the subsequent rate of change. Although sea-level histories and physical understanding allow the possibility that ice-sheet response could be quite fast, no strong constraints are yet available on the worst-case scenario. Recent work also suggests that the Greenland and East Antarctic Ice Sheets share some of the same vulnerabilities to shrinkage from marine influence.

  19. The Greenland Ice Sheet, now in HD

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howat, I. M.; Noh, M. J.; Porter, C. C.; Morin, P. J.; Herried, B.

    2014-12-01

    We are constructing very-high resolution (2 m of the margin, 10 m of the interior) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and orthoimage mosaics of the the Greenland Ice Sheet from stereoscopic-mode satellite imagery acquired by the Worldview constellation and archived at the Polar Geospatial Center. The DEMs are constructed with the fully-automated Surface Extraction from TIN-based Search Minimization (SETSM) software developed by Ohio State University specifically for DEM extraction over high latitude terrains. The SETSM algorithm features an iterative process for correcting biases in the imagery geolocation information, improving DEM success over low-contrast and repetitively-textured surfaces such as snow and mountain shadows. The imagery are orthorectified using the corresponding DEM and individual orthoimages and DEMs are mosaiced into continuous tiles of coverage. To facilitate change detection, each pixel contains an acquisition date stamp and a flag indicating if the DEM pixel was measured or interpolated. The data are openly available online with registration at http://www.pgc.umn.edu/elevation/stereo . Here we present the Greenland DEM and orthoimage mosaics with examples of applications and comparisons to existing datasets. We compare the DEM's to coincident laser altimeter measurements to examine accuracies and potential biases, as well as discuss the feasibility of merging the DEMs with coordinated laser altimeter surveys to improve the spatial coverage of high-precision elevation data.

  20. Evidence for an extensive Antarctic Ice Sheet by 37 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter, Andrew; Riley, Teal; Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Rittner, Martin

    2016-04-01

    We present observational evidence that both the East and West Antarctic ice sheets had expanded to the coast by 37 Ma, predating, by at least 3 Myr, a major drop in atmospheric CO2 at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary widely considered responsible for Antarctic Ice Sheet expansion. Our evidence comes from the provenance (geochronology, thermochronometry, mineralogy) of iceberg-rafted debris identified in Late Eocene marine sediments from (ODP) Leg 113 Site 696 in the NW Weddell Sea. The existence of an significant Antarctic Ice Sheet in a Late Eocene high pCO2 world calls into question the role of atmospheric CO2 concentrations as the dominant mechanism for ice sheet expansion and whether topography and ocean circulation only play a secondary role.

  1. Continuous, Pulsed Export of Methane-Supersaturated Meltwaters from the Bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamarche-Gagnon, G.; Wadham, J.; Beaton, A.; Fietzek, P.; Stanley, K. M.; Tedstone, A.; Sherwood Lollar, B.; Lacrampe Couloume, G.; Telling, J.; Liz, B.; Hawkings, J.; Kohler, T. J.; Zarsky, J. D.; Stibal, M.; Mowlem, M. C.

    2016-12-01

    Both past and present ice sheets have been proposed to cap large quantities of methane (CH4), on orders of magnitude significant enough to impact global greenhouse gas concentrations during periods of rapid ice retreat. However, to date most evidence for sub-ice sheet methane has been indirect, derived from calculations of the methanogenic potential of basal-ice microbial communities and biogeochemical models; field-based empirical measurements are lacking from large ice sheet catchments. Here, we present the first continuous, in situ record of dissolved methane export from a large catchment of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) in South West Greenland from May-July 2015. Our results indicate that glacial runoff was continuously supersaturated with methane over the observation period (dissolved CH4 concentrations of 30-700 nM), with total methane flux rising as subglacial discharge increased. Periodic subglacial drainage events, characterised by rapid changes (i.e. pulses) in meltwater hydrochemistry, also coincided with a rise in methane concentrations. We argue that these are likely indicative of the flushing of subglacial reservoirs of CH4 beneath the ice sheet. Total methane export was relatively modest when compared to global methane budgets, but too high to be explained by previously determined methanogenic rates from Greenland basal ice. Discrepancies between estimated Greenland methane reserves and observed fluxes stress the need to further investigate GrIS methane fluxes and sources, and suggest a more biogeochemically active subglacial environment than previously considered. Results indicate that future warming, and a coincident increase in ice melt rates, would likely make the GrIS, and by extension the Antarctic Ice Sheet, more significant sources of atmospheric methane, consequently acting as a positive feedback to a warming climate.

  2. Sturgis and Tekonsha ice advances: Evidence for thin ice sheets in southern Michigan

    SciTech Connect

    Straw, W.T.; Kehew, A.E.; Passero, R.N. . Dept. of Geology)

    1993-03-01

    Advance of an ice sheet through the Saginaw Lowland to the position of Sturgis, in St. Joseph County, Michigan initially produced the Sturgis Moraine and adjacent outwash apron. As this ice sheet down wasted, meltwater impounded by it overtopped ice divides to form meltwater streams that cut canyons in the ice and underlying glacial sediments. Continued wasting was attended by formation of supraglacial streams that developed waterfalls as they eroded headward. Complete melting of the ice revealed a subglacial topography marked by drumlins, many of which are irregular, attesting to formation near the attenuated margin of the ice sheet. Prior to complete wasting of this stagnant ice mass, ice of the Lake Michigan Lobe advanced from the west-northwest to form the Tekonsha Moraine. Exposed only where this relatively thin ice sheet advanced onto a highland in east-central Kalamazoo County, the southwestern extension of this moraine was buried by outwash from ice that formed the very prominent Kalamazoo Moraine. That the Tekonsha ice sheet stagnated and wasted in place is revealed by two prominent elongate kames, several escarpments, lake and wetland basins produced by melting of ice masses buried by glacial outwash, and sequential filling of the lowland produced by melting of this ice sheet by a series of alluvial fans. The sequence of fan emplacement is indicated by marginal relationships of the fans and the number and size of depressions formed by melting of relic blocks of ice. The first-formed Dry Prairie fan is marked by numerous large depressions while the Prairie Ronde, the last formed fan exhibits only small widely spaced depressions formed by melting of the last vestiges of this ice sheet.

  3. Spatial patterns in backscatter strength across the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, K. C.

    1993-01-01

    The relationship between the physical properties of the Greenland ice sheet and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data collected from aircraft and from ERS-1 is addressed. Limited aircraft data are combined with a description of the glacier surface to predict qualitatively the spatial and seasonal variation in backscatter strength across the ice sheet. In particular the model predicts relatively low backscatter near the ice edge where scattering is dominated by rough surface effects. Backscatter increases through the lake zone as volume scattering becomes important. Strongest backscatter is found in the percolation facies where volume scatter from snow grains and volume scatter from large, buried ice bodies becomes important. Backscatter weakens in the interior ice sheet where fine grained snow is the only mechanism producing backscatter.

  4. Uncertainty Quantification for Large-Scale Ice Sheet Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Ghattas, Omar

    2016-02-05

    This report summarizes our work to develop advanced forward and inverse solvers and uncertainty quantification capabilities for a nonlinear 3D full Stokes continental-scale ice sheet flow model. The components include: (1) forward solver: a new state-of-the-art parallel adaptive scalable high-order-accurate mass-conservative Newton-based 3D nonlinear full Stokes ice sheet flow simulator; (2) inverse solver: a new adjoint-based inexact Newton method for solution of deterministic inverse problems governed by the above 3D nonlinear full Stokes ice flow model; and (3) uncertainty quantification: a novel Hessian-based Bayesian method for quantifying uncertainties in the inverse ice sheet flow solution and propagating them forward into predictions of quantities of interest such as ice mass flux to the ocean.

  5. AFISMIP: Age Field in Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parrenin, F.

    2009-04-01

    The last few years have seen a great deal of effort invested by various research groups in developing numerical ice sheet models. One interest of these models is to evaluate the age field of current or past ice sheets. Indeed, such a modeling exercise can be used to prospect for new drilling sites aiming at retrieving very old ice (e.g. >1 Myr). Reciprocally, observations on the age field provided by (1) already drilled ice cores or (2) internal layers measured by radio-echo sounding, can constrain the velocity field in ice sheet. The purpose of the proposed experiments is to address the accuracy of the numerical models of the age field. Numerical simulations will be inter-compared or confronted to analytical solutions.

  6. Surface water hydrology and the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, L. C.; Yang, K.; Pitcher, L. H.; Overstreet, B. T.; Chu, V. W.; Rennermalm, A. K.; Cooper, M. G.; Gleason, C. J.; Ryan, J.; Hubbard, A.; Tedesco, M.; Behar, A.

    2016-12-01

    Mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet now exceeds 260 Gt/year, raising global sea level by >0.7 mm annually. Approximately two-thirds of this total mass loss is now driven by negative ice sheet surface mass balance (SMB), attributed mainly to production and runoff of meltwater from the ice sheet surface. This new dominance of runoff as a driver of GrIS total mass loss will likely persist owing to anticipated further increases in surface melting, reduced meltwater storage in firn, and the waning importance of dynamical mass losses (ice calving) as the ice sheets retreat from their marine-terminating margins. It also creates the need and opportunity for integrative research pairing traditional surface water hydrology approaches with glaciology. As one example, we present a way to measure supraglacial "runoff" (i.e. specific discharge) at the supraglacial catchment scale ( 101-102 km2), using in situ measurements of supraglacial river discharge and high-resolution satellite/drone mapping of upstream catchment area. This approach, which is standard in terrestrial hydrology but novel for ice sheet science, enables independent verification and improvement of modeled SMB runoff estimates used to project sea level rise. Furthermore, because current SMB models do not consider the role of fluvial watershed processes operating on the ice surface, inclusion of even a simple surface routing model materially improves simulations of runoff delivered to moulins, the critical pathways for meltwater entry into the ice sheet. Incorporating principles of surface water hydrology and fluvial geomorphology and into glaciological models will thus aid estimates of Greenland meltwater runoff to the global ocean as well as connections to subglacial hydrology and ice sheet dynamics.

  7. Ice sheet growth with laterally varying bedrock relaxation time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Wal, Wouter; Vizcaino Rubio, Pablo; De Boer, Bas; van de Wal, Roderik

    2017-04-01

    Isostatic response of the bedrock, or glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) in included in most ice sheet models. This is important because the surface elevation determines the mass balance and thereby implicitly also the strength of the mass balance feedback where higher surface elevation yields lower temperatures implying less melt and vice versa. Usually a single relaxation time or a set of relaxation times is used to model the response everywhere on Earth or at least for an entire ice sheet. In reality the viscosity in the Earth's mantle, and hence the relaxation time experienced by the ice, varies with location. Seismic studies indicate that several regions that were covered by ice during the last glacial cycle are underlain by mantle in which viscosity varies with orders of magnitude, such as Antarctica and North America. The question is whether such a variation of viscosity influences ice evolution. Several GIA models exist that can deal with 3D viscosity, but their large computation times make it nearly impossible to couple them to ice sheet models. Here we use the ANICE ice-sheet model (de Boer et al. 2013) with a simple bedrock-relaxation model in which a different relaxation time is used for separate regions. A temperature anomaly is applied to grow a schematic ice sheet on a flat earth, with other forcing mechanisms neglected. It is shown that in locations with a fast relaxation time of 300 years the equilibrium ice sheet is significantly thinner and narrower but also ice thickness in neighbouring regions (with the more standard relaxation time of 3000 years) is affected.

  8. Sensitivity of the Southern Ocean to enhanced regional Antarctic ice sheet meltwater input

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogwill, C. J.; Phipps, S. J.; Turney, C. S. M.; Golledge, N. R.

    2015-10-01

    Despite advances in our understanding of the processes driving contemporary sea level rise, the stability of the Antarctic ice sheets and their contribution to sea level under projected future warming remains uncertain due to the influence of strong ice-climate feedbacks. Disentangling these feedbacks is key to reducing uncertainty. Here we present a series of climate system model simulations that explore the potential effects of increased West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) meltwater flux on Southern Ocean dynamics. We project future changes driven by sectors of the WAIS, delivering spatially and temporally variable meltwater flux into the Amundsen, Ross, and Weddell embayments over future centuries. Focusing on the Amundsen Sea sector of the WAIS over the next 200 years, we demonstrate that the enhanced meltwater flux rapidly stratifies surface waters, resulting in a significant decrease in the rate of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) formation. This triggers rapid pervasive ocean warming (>1°C) at depth due to advection from the original site(s) of meltwater input. The greatest warming is predicted along sectors of the ice sheet that are highly sensitized to ocean forcing, creating a feedback loop that could enhance basal ice shelf melting and grounding line retreat. Given that we do not include the effects of rising CO2—predicted to further reduce AABW formation—our experiments highlight the urgent need to develop a new generation of fully coupled ice sheet climate models, which include feedback mechanisms such as this, to reduce uncertainty in climate and sea level projections.

  9. Self-inhibiting growth of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langen, P. L.; Solgaard, A. M.; Hvidberg, C. S.

    2012-06-01

    The build-up of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) from ice-free conditions is studied in an ice sheet model (ISM) driven by fields from an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) to demonstrate the importance of coupling between the two components. Experiments where the two are coupled off-line are augmented by one where an intermediate ice sheet configuration is coupled back to the GCM. Forcing the ISM with GCM fields corresponding to the ice-free state leads to extensive regrowth which, however, is halted when the intermediate recoupling step is included. This inhibition of further growth is due to a Föhn effect of moist air parcels being lifted over the intermediate ice sheet and arriving in the low-lying Greenland interior with high temperatures. This demonstrates that two-way coupling between the atmosphere and the ice sheet is essential for understanding the dynamics and that large scale conditions cooler than those of today may be necessary for the GrIS to regrow to the present volume.

  10. Holocene accumulation and ice flow near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koutnik, Michelle R.; Fudge, T. J.; Conway, Howard; Waddington, Edwin D.; Neumann, Thomas A.; Cuffey, Kurt M.; Buizert, Christo; Taylor, Kendrick C.

    2016-05-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Core (WDC) provided a high-resolution climate record from near the Ross-Amundsen Divide in Central West Antarctica. In addition, radar-detected internal layers in the vicinity of the WDC site have been dated directly from the ice core to provide spatial variations in the age structure of the region. Using these two data sets together, we first infer a high-resolution Holocene accumulation-rate history from 9.2 kyr of the ice-core timescale and then confirm that this climate history is consistent with internal layers upstream of the core site. Even though the WDC was drilled only 24 km from the modern ice divide, advection of ice from upstream must be taken into account. We evaluate histories of accumulation rate by using a flowband model to generate internal layers that we compare to observed layers. Results show that the centennially averaged accumulation rate was over 20% lower than modern at 9.2 kyr before present (B.P.), increased by 40% from 9.2 to 2.3 kyr B.P., and decreased by at least 10% over the past 2 kyr B.P. to the modern values; these Holocene accumulation-rate changes in Central West Antarctica are larger than changes inferred from East Antarctic ice-core records. Despite significant changes in accumulation rate, throughout the Holocene the regional accumulation pattern has likely remained similar to today, and the ice-divide position has likely remained on average within 5 km of its modern position. Continent-scale ice-sheet models used for reconstructions of West Antarctic ice volume should incorporate this accumulation history.

  11. Holocene Accumulation and Ice Flow near the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core Site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koutnik, Michelle R.; Fudge, T.J.; Conway, Howard; Waddington, Edwin D.; Neumann, Thomas A.; Cuffey, Kurt M.; Buizert, Christo; Taylor, Kendrick C.

    2016-01-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Core (WDC) provided a high-resolution climate record from near the Ross-Amundsen Divide in Central West Antarctica. In addition, radar-detected internal layers in the vicinity of the WDC site have been dated directly from the ice core to provide spatial variations in the age structure of the region. Using these two data sets together, we first infer a high-resolution Holocene accumulation-rate history from 9.2 thousand years of the ice-core timescale and then confirm that this climate history is consistent with internal layers upstream of the core site. Even though the WDC was drilled only 24 kilometers from the modern ice divide, advection of ice from upstream must be taken into account. We evaluate histories of accumulation rate by using a flowband model to generate internal layers that we compare to observed layers. Results show that the centennially averaged accumulation rate was over 20 percent lower than modern at 9.2 thousand years before present (B.P.), increased by 40 percent from 9.2 to 2.3 thousand years B.P., and decreased by at least 10 percent over the past 2 thousand years B.P. to the modern values; these Holocene accumulation-rate changes in Central West Antarctica are larger than changes inferred from East Antarctic ice-core records. Despite significant changes in accumulation rate, throughout the Holocene the regional accumulation pattern has likely remained similar to today, and the ice-divide position has likely remained on average within 5 kilometers of its modern position. Continent-scale ice-sheet models used for reconstructions of West Antarctic ice volume should incorporate this accumulation history.

  12. Experimental design for three interrelated marine ice sheet and ocean model intercomparison projects: MISMIP v. 3 (MISMIP +), ISOMIP v. 2 (ISOMIP +) and MISOMIP v. 1 (MISOMIP1)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asay-Davis, Xylar S.; Cornford, Stephen L.; Durand, Gaël; Galton-Fenzi, Benjamin K.; Gladstone, Rupert M.; Hilmar Gudmundsson, G.; Hattermann, Tore; Holland, David M.; Holland, Denise; Holland, Paul R.; Martin, Daniel F.; Mathiot, Pierre; Pattyn, Frank; Seroussi, Hélène

    2016-07-01

    Coupled ice sheet-ocean models capable of simulating moving grounding lines are just becoming available. Such models have a broad range of potential applications in studying the dynamics of marine ice sheets and tidewater glaciers, from process studies to future projections of ice mass loss and sea level rise. The Marine Ice Sheet-Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (MISOMIP) is a community effort aimed at designing and coordinating a series of model intercomparison projects (MIPs) for model evaluation in idealized setups, model verification based on observations, and future projections for key regions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Here we describe computational experiments constituting three interrelated MIPs for marine ice sheet models and regional ocean circulation models incorporating ice shelf cavities. These consist of ice sheet experiments under the Marine Ice Sheet MIP third phase (MISMIP+), ocean experiments under the Ice Shelf-Ocean MIP second phase (ISOMIP+) and coupled ice sheet-ocean experiments under the MISOMIP first phase (MISOMIP1). All three MIPs use a shared domain with idealized bedrock topography and forcing, allowing the coupled simulations (MISOMIP1) to be compared directly to the individual component simulations (MISMIP+ and ISOMIP+). The experiments, which have qualitative similarities to Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf and the adjacent region of the Amundsen Sea, are designed to explore the effects of changes in ocean conditions, specifically the temperature at depth, on basal melting and ice dynamics. In future work, differences between model results will form the basis for the evaluation of the participating models.

  13. Palaeoclimatology: Ice-sheet history revealed by fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertzberg, Jennifer

    2017-07-01

    Microscopic fossils show that, from 10,400 to 7,500 years ago, upwelling of a water mass called Circumpolar Deep Water destabilized Antarctic ice shelves -- a finding that advances our understanding of ice-sheet retreat. See Article p.43

  14. Cryosphere Science Outreach using the Ice Sheet System Model and a Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, D. L. C.; Halkides, D. J.; Larour, E. Y.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the role of Cryosphere Science within the larger context of Sea Level Rise is both a technical and educational challenge that needs to be addressed if the public at large is to trulyunderstand the implications and consequences of Climate Change. Within this context, we propose a new approach in which scientific tools are used directly inside a mobile/website platform geared towards Education/Outreach. Here, we apply this approach by using the Ice Sheet System Model, a state of the art Cryosphere model developed at NASA, and integrated within a Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory, with the goal is to outreach Cryospherescience to K-12 and College level students. The approach mixes laboratory experiments, interactive classes/lessons on a website, and a simplified interface to a full-fledged instance of ISSM to validate the classes/lessons. This novel approach leverages new insights from the Outreach/Educational community and the interest of new generations in web based technologies and simulation tools, all of it delivered in a seamlessly integrated web platform. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory undera contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Science Program.

  15. Sources, cycling and export of nitrogen on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wadham, Jemma Louise; Hawkings, Jonathan; Telling, Jon; Chandler, Dave; Alcock, Jon; O'Donnell, Emily; Kaur, Preeti; Bagshaw, Elizabeth; Tranter, Martyn; Tedstone, Andre; Nienow, Peter

    2016-11-01

    Fjord and continental shelf environments in the polar regions are host to some of the planet's most productive ecosystems and support economically important fisheries. Their productivity, however, is often critically dependent upon nutrient supply from upstream terrestrial environments delivered via river systems. In glacially fed coastal ecosystems, riverine nutrients are largely sourced from melting snow and ice. The largest and most extensive glacially fed coastal ecosystem in the Arctic is that bordering the Greenland Ice Sheet. The future primary productivity of this ecosystem, however, is uncertain. A potential increase in primary productivity driven by reduced sea ice extent and associated increased light levels may be curtailed by insufficient nutrient supply, and specifically nitrogen. Research on small valley glaciers indicates that glaciers are important sources of nitrogen to downstream environments. However, no data exist from ice sheet systems such as Greenland. Time series of nitrogen concentrations in runoff are documented from a large Greenland glacier, demonstrating seasonally elevated fluxes to the ocean. Fluxes are highest in mid-summer, when nitrogen limitation is commonly reported in coastal waters. It is estimated that approximately half of the glacially exported nitrogen is sourced from microbial activity within glacial sediments at the surface and bed of the ice sheet, doubling nitrogen fluxes in runoff. Summer dissolved inorganic nitrogen fluxes from the Greenland Ice Sheet (30-40 Gg) are a similar order of magnitude to those from a large Arctic river (Holmes et al., 2012). Nitrogen yields from the ice sheet (236 kg TDN km-2 a-1), however, are approximately double those from Arctic riverine catchments. We assert that this ice sheet nitrogen subsidy to Arctic coastal ecosystems may be important for understanding coastal biodiversity, productivity and fisheries and should be considered in future biogeochemical modelling studies of coastal

  16. Increased future ice discharge from Antarctica owing to higher snowfall.

    PubMed

    Winkelmann, R; Levermann, A; Martin, M A; Frieler, K

    2012-12-13

    Anthropogenic climate change is likely to cause continuing global sea level rise, but some processes within the Earth system may mitigate the magnitude of the projected effect. Regional and global climate models simulate enhanced snowfall over Antarctica, which would provide a direct offset of the future contribution to global sea level rise from cryospheric mass loss and ocean expansion. Uncertainties exist in modelled snowfall, but even larger uncertainties exist in the potential changes of dynamic ice discharge from Antarctica and thus in the ultimate fate of the precipitation-deposited ice mass. Here we show that snowfall and discharge are not independent, but that future ice discharge will increase by up to three times as a result of additional snowfall under global warming. Our results, based on an ice-sheet model forced by climate simulations through to the end of 2500 (ref. 8), show that the enhanced discharge effect exceeds the effect of surface warming as well as that of basal ice-shelf melting, and is due to the difference in surface elevation change caused by snowfall on grounded versus floating ice. Although different underlying forcings drive ice loss from basal melting versus increased snowfall, similar ice dynamical processes are nonetheless at work in both; therefore results are relatively independent of the specific representation of the transition zone. In an ensemble of simulations designed to capture ice-physics uncertainty, the additional dynamic ice loss along the coastline compensates between 30 and 65 per cent of the ice gain due to enhanced snowfall over the entire continent. This results in a dynamic ice loss of up to 1.25 metres in the year 2500 for the strongest warming scenario. The reported effect thus strongly counters a potential negative contribution to global sea level by the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

  17. SPICE: Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McMillan, Malcolm; Shepherd, Andrew; Roca, Monica; Escorihuela, Maria Jose; Thibaut, Pierre; Remy, Frederique; Escola, Roger; Benveniste, Jerome; Ambrozio, Americo; Restano, Marco

    2016-04-01

    Since the launch of ERS-1 in 1991, polar-orbiting satellite radar altimeters have provided a near continuous record of ice sheet elevation change, yielding estimates of ice sheet mass imbalance at the scale of individual ice sheet basins. One of the principle challenges associated with radar altimetry comes from the relatively large ground footprint of conventional pulse-limited radars, which limits their capacity to make reliable measurements in areas of complex topographic terrain. In recent years, progress has been made towards improving ground resolution, through the implementation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or Delay-Doppler, techniques. In 2010, the launch of CryoSat heralded the start of a new era of SAR altimetry, although full SAR coverage of the polar ice sheets will only be achieved with the launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite in January 2016. Because of the heritage of SAR altimetry provided by CryoSat, current SAR altimeter processing techniques have to some extent been optimized and evaluated for water and sea ice surfaces. This leaves several outstanding issues related to the development and evaluation of SAR altimetry for ice sheets, including improvements to SAR processing algorithms and SAR altimetry waveform retracking procedures. Here we will outline SPICE (Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets), a 2 year project which began in September 2015 and is funded by ESA's SEOM (Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions) programme. This project aims to contribute to the development and understanding of ice sheet SAR altimetry through the emulation of Sentinel-3 data from dedicated CryoSat SAR acquisitions made at several sites in Antarctica. More specifically, the project aims to (1) evaluate and improve the current Delay-Doppler processing and SAR waveform retracking algorithms, (2) evaluate higher level SAR altimeter data, and (3) investigate radar wave interaction with the snowpack. We will provide a broad overview of

  18. Retreat history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mackintosh, Andrew N.; Verleyen, Elie; O'Brien, Philip E.; White, Duanne A.; Jones, R. Selwyn; McKay, Robert; Dunbar, Robert; Gore, Damian B.; Fink, David; Post, Alexandra L.; Miura, Hideki; Leventer, Amy; Goodwin, Ian; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Lilly, Katherine; Crosta, Xavier; Golledge, Nicholas R.; Wagner, Bernd; Berg, Sonja; van Ommen, Tas; Zwartz, Dan; Roberts, Stephen J.; Vyverman, Wim; Masse, Guillaume

    2014-09-01

    The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) is the largest continental ice mass on Earth, and documenting its evolution since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is important for understanding its present-day and future behaviour. As part of a community effort, we review geological evidence from East Antarctica that constrains the ice sheet history throughout this period (˜30,000 years ago to present). This includes terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dates from previously glaciated regions, 14C chronologies from glacial and post-glacial deposits onshore and on the continental shelf, and ice sheet thickness changes inferred from ice cores and continental-scale ice sheet models. We also include new 14C dates from the George V Land - Terre Adélie Coast shelf. We show that the EAIS advanced to the continental shelf margin in some parts of East Antarctica, and that the ice sheet characteristically thickened by 300-400 m near the present-day coastline at these sites. This advance was associated with the formation of low-gradient ice streams that grounded at depths of >1 km below sea level on the inner continental shelf. The Lambert/Amery system thickened by a greater amount (800 m) near its present-day grounding zone, but did not advance beyond the inner continental shelf. At other sites in coastal East Antarctica (e.g. Bunger Hills, Larsemann Hills), very little change in the ice sheet margin occurred at the LGM, perhaps because ice streams accommodated any excess ice build up, leaving adjacent, ice-free areas relatively unaffected. Evidence from nunataks indicates that the amount of ice sheet thickening diminished inland at the LGM, an observation supported by ice cores, which suggest that interior ice sheet domes were ˜100 m lower than present at this time. Ice sheet recession may have started ˜18,000 years ago in the Lambert/Amery glacial system, and by ˜14,000 years ago in Mac.Robertson Land. These early pulses of deglaciation may have been responses to abrupt sea-level rise

  19. LIVVkit: An extensible, python-based, land ice verification and validation toolkit for ice sheet models

    DOE PAGES

    Kennedy, Joseph H.; Bennett, Andrew R.; Evans, Katherine J.; ...

    2017-03-23

    To address the pressing need to better understand the behavior and complex interaction of ice sheets within the global Earth system, significant development of continental-scale, dynamical ice sheet models is underway. Concurrent to the development of the Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM), the corresponding verification and validation (V&V) process is being coordinated through a new, robust, Python-based extensible software package, the Land Ice Verification and Validation toolkit (LIVVkit). Incorporated into the typical ice sheet model development cycle, it provides robust and automated numerical verification, software verification, performance validation, and physical validation analyses on a variety of platforms, from personal laptopsmore » to the largest supercomputers. LIVVkit operates on sets of regression test and reference data sets, and provides comparisons for a suite of community prioritized tests, including configuration and parameter variations, bit-for-bit evaluation, and plots of model variables to indicate where differences occur. LIVVkit also provides an easily extensible framework to incorporate and analyze results of new intercomparison projects, new observation data, and new computing platforms. LIVVkit is designed for quick adaptation to additional ice sheet models via abstraction of model specific code, functions, and configurations into an ice sheet model description bundle outside the main LIVVkit structure. Furthermore, through shareable and accessible analysis output, LIVVkit is intended to help developers build confidence in their models and enhance the credibility of ice sheet models overall.« less

  20. LIVVkit: An extensible, python-based, land ice verification and validation toolkit for ice sheet models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennedy, Joseph H.; Bennett, Andrew R.; Evans, Katherine J.; Price, Stephen; Hoffman, Matthew; Lipscomb, William H.; Fyke, Jeremy; Vargo, Lauren; Boghozian, Adrianna; Norman, Matthew; Worley, Patrick H.

    2017-06-01

    To address the pressing need to better understand the behavior and complex interaction of ice sheets within the global Earth system, significant development of continental-scale, dynamical ice sheet models is underway. Concurrent to the development of the Community Ice Sheet Model (CISM), the corresponding verification and validation (V&V) process is being coordinated through a new, robust, Python-based extensible software package, the Land Ice Verification and Validation toolkit (LIVVkit). Incorporated into the typical ice sheet model development cycle, it provides robust and automated numerical verification, software verification, performance validation, and physical validation analyses on a variety of platforms, from personal laptops to the largest supercomputers. LIVVkit operates on sets of regression test and reference data sets, and provides comparisons for a suite of community prioritized tests, including configuration and parameter variations, bit-for-bit evaluation, and plots of model variables to indicate where differences occur. LIVVkit also provides an easily extensible framework to incorporate and analyze results of new intercomparison projects, new observation data, and new computing platforms. LIVVkit is designed for quick adaptation to additional ice sheet models via abstraction of model specific code, functions, and configurations into an ice sheet model description bundle outside the main LIVVkit structure. Ultimately, through shareable and accessible analysis output, LIVVkit is intended to help developers build confidence in their models and enhance the credibility of ice sheet models overall.

  1. Ice sheet configurations during MIS 4 and MIS 2 on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hormes, Anne; Akçar, Naki; Kubik, Peter

    2010-05-01

    Earth system models profit from data that constrain last ice sheet configurations and timing of deglaciation in order to predict future changes of the ocean circulation. As model-data comparison for key abrupt climate changes in the past become available further understanding of former ice sheet configurations is needed as ice sheet extent and configuration have an impact on freshwater routing. The present-day understanding of the ice sheet extension of the Svalbard-Barents Sea ice sheet has been greatly improved by marine bathymetry and lithostratigraphic data supporting the idea of a multi-domed ice sheet with a time-transgressive behaviour in various parts of the Svalbard-Barents Sea. This conference contribution attempts to determine the ice sheet configuration and style on Nordaustlandet, the northernmost island of the European sector reaching into the Arctic Ocean, based on terrestrial data. The timing of deglaciation was investigated by application of 26-Al and 10-Be cosmogenic exposure ages of glacially scoured bedrock. Past glacial ice cover on Nordaustlandet has been thick in lowlands and fjords with erosive behaviour during the Late Weichselian/MIS 2. Though, 26-Al/10-Be ratios of erratic boulders on higher plateaus and hills in distance from the fjord and valley systems indicate no complex exposure history. Boulders in these regions were exposed after a more extensive glaciation in mid-Weichselian/MIS 4. Glacial ice streams were confined to the fjord systems during MIS 2, while glaciers were more extended in MIS 4 and covered also plateaus and hills in certain distance to fjord and valley systems. Only cold based ice residues resisted on higher plateaus and hills during MIS 3 in certain areas and melted in MIS 2. The Svalbard Barents Sea ice sheet system was dependent on precipitation distribution causing an extended glaciation in the NW part during MIS 4. Precipitation access might have been more limited during MIS 2 when this region was in the lee of

  2. West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative. Volume 1: Science and Implementation Plan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bindschadler, Robert A. (Editor)

    1990-01-01

    The Science and Implementation Plan of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Initiative (WAIS) is described. The goal of this initiative is the prediction of the future behavior of this ice sheet and an assessment of its potential to collapse, rapidly raising global sea level. The multidisciplinary nature of WAIS reflects the complexity of the polar ice sheet environment. The project builds upon past and current polar studies in many fields and meshes with future programs of both the U.S. and other countries. Important tasks in each discipline are described and a coordinated schedule by which the majority of these tasks can be accomplished in 5 years is presented. The companion report (Volume 2) contains seven discipline review papers on the state of knowledge of Antarctica and opinions on how that knowledge must be increased to attain the WAIS goal.

  3. Challenges faced by ice sheet projections: lessons from the SeaRISE effort

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nowicki, S.

    2013-12-01

    Projecting the future evolution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is a problem of enormous societal importance, as ice sheet influence our future sea levels. This crucial issue is however a non trivial task, as demonstrated by the Sea level Response to Ice Sheet Evolution (SeaRISE) effort: prescribing simple external forcings to a group of ice sheet models results in a spread in responses. Understanding the source of the diversity in the model results is therefore crucial in order to reduce the uncertainty in the projection. Just as in any future climate simulation, the analysis presented here demonstrates that the model spread in the SeaRISE effort is due to a number of factors. First is the problem of obtaining an initial configuration for the projection. The two commonly used methods, interglacial spin-up or data assimilation, have both advantages and drawbacks, and will affect the determination of fields that cannot be measured (such as basal slipperiness). Second is the uncertainty in actual observations, which includes but is not limited to surface mass balance, basal topography, ice thickness, and surface velocities. An additional issue with these observations is that they can be transient quantities which are not measured at the same time, but ice sheet models require them to be simultaneous. Third is the uncertainty in the models' physics and discretization, which is limited by our understanding (or lack of understanding) of crucial processes that often occur at subgrid scale relative to the resolution used by continental ice sheet models, and thus require parameterization. Grounding line migration and sliding laws are such an example. Fourth is the determination of the future forcing scenarios and their implementation as the external forcing. Unfortunately, as demonstrated in this analysis, all ice sheet models face these limitations to some degree, so that it is extremely difficult to identify a set of models and projections that should be

  4. Deciphering the evolution of the last Eurasian ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Anna; Gyllencreutz, Richard; Mangerud, Jan; Svendsen, John Inge

    2016-04-01

    Glacial geologists need ice sheet-scale chronological reconstructions of former ice extent to set individual records in a wider context and compare interpretations of ice sheet response to records of past environmental changes. Ice sheet modellers require empirical reconstructions on size and volume of past ice sheets that are fully documented, specified in time and include uncertainty estimates for model validation or constraints. Motivated by these demands, in 2005 we started a project (Database of the Eurasian Deglaciation, DATED) to compile and archive all published dates relevant to constraining the build-up and retreat of the last Eurasian ice sheets, including the British-Irish, Scandinavian and Svalbard-Barents-Kara Seas ice sheets (BIIS, SIS and SBKIS respectively). Over 5000 dates were assessed for reliability and used together with published ice-sheet margin positions to reconstruct time-slice maps of the ice sheets' extent, with uncertainty bounds, every 1000 years between 25-10 kyr ago and at four additional periods back to 40 kyr ago. Ten years after the idea for a database was conceived, the first version of results (DATED-1) has now been released (Hughes et al. 2016). We observe that: i) both the BIIS and SBKIS achieve maximum extent, and commence retreat earlier than the larger SIS; ii) the eastern terrestrial margin of the SIS reached its maximum extent up to 7000 years later than the westernmost marine margin; iii) the combined maximum ice volume (~24 m sea-level equivalent) was reached c. 21 ka; iv) large uncertainties exist; predominantly across marine sectors (e.g. the timing of coalescence and separation of the SIS and BKIS) but also in well-studied areas due to conflicting yet equally robust data. In just three years since the DATED-1 census (1 January 2013), the volume of new information (from both dates and mapped glacial geomorphology) has grown significantly (~1000 new dates). Here, we present the DATED-1 results in the context of the

  5. Reconstruction of changes in the Weddell Sea sector of the Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hillenbrand, Claus-Dieter; Bentley, Michael J.; Stolldorf, Travis D.; Hein, Andrew S.; Kuhn, Gerhard; Graham, Alastair G. C.; Fogwill, Christopher J.; Kristoffersen, Yngve; Smith, James. A.; Anderson, John B.; Larter, Robert D.; Melles, Martin; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Mulvaney, Robert; Sugden, David E.

    2014-09-01

    The Weddell Sea sector is one of the main formation sites for Antarctic Bottom Water and an outlet for about one fifth of Antarctica's continental ice volume. Over the last few decades, studies on glacial-geological records in this sector have provided conflicting reconstructions of changes in ice-sheet extent and ice-sheet thickness since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM at ca 23-19 calibrated kiloyears before present, cal ka BP). Terrestrial geomorphological records and exposure ages obtained from rocks in the hinterland of the Weddell Sea, ice-sheet thickness constraints from ice cores and some radiocarbon dates on offshore sediments were interpreted to indicate no significant ice thickening and locally restricted grounding-line advance at the LGM. Other marine geological and geophysical studies concluded that subglacial bedforms mapped on the Weddell Sea continental shelf, subglacial deposits and sediments over-compacted by overriding ice recovered in cores, and the few available radiocarbon ages from marine sediments are consistent with major ice-sheet advance at the LGM. Reflecting the geological interpretations, different ice-sheet models have reconstructed conflicting LGM ice-sheet configurations for the Weddell Sea sector. Consequently, the estimated contributions of ice-sheet build-up in the Weddell Sea sector to the LGM sea-level low-stand of ˜130 m vary considerably. In this paper, we summarise and review the geological records of past ice-sheet margins and past ice-sheet elevations in the Weddell Sea sector. We compile marine and terrestrial chronological data constraining former ice-sheet size, thereby highlighting different levels of certainty, and present two alternative scenarios of the LGM ice-sheet configuration, including time-slice reconstructions for post-LGM grounding-line retreat. Moreover, we discuss consistencies and possible reasons for inconsistencies between the various reconstructions and propose objectives for future research. The aim

  6. Ocean temperature thresholds for Last Interglacial West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sutter, Johannes; Gierz, Paul; Grosfeld, Klaus; Thoma, Malte; Lohmann, Gerrit

    2016-03-01

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is considered the major contributor to global sea level rise in the Last Interglacial (LIG) and potentially in the future. Exposed fossil reef terraces suggest sea levels in excess of 7 m in the last warm era, of which probably not much more than 2 m are considered to originate from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. We simulate the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the LIG with a 3-D thermomechanical ice sheet model forced by an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM). Our results show that high LIG sea levels cannot be reproduced with the atmosphere-ocean forcing delivered by current AOGCMs. However, when taking reconstructed Southern Ocean temperature anomalies of several degrees, sensitivity studies indicate a Southern Ocean temperature anomaly threshold for total WAIS collapse of 2-3°C, accounting for a sea level rise of 3-4 m during the LIG. Potential future Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics range from a moderate retreat to a complete collapse, depending on rate and amplitude of warming.

  7. Global ice-sheet system interlocked by sea level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Denton, George H.; Hughes, Terence J.; Karlén, Wibjörn

    1986-07-01

    Denton and Hughes (1983, Quaternary Research20, 125-144) postulated that sea level linked a global ice-sheet system with both terrestrial and grounded marine components during late Quaternary ice ages. Summer temperature changes near Northern Hemisphere melting margins initiated sea-level fluctuations that controlled marine components in both polar hemispheres. It was further proposed that variations of this ice-sheet system amplified and transmitted Milankovitch summer half-year insolation changes between 45 and 75°N into global climatic changes. New tests of this hypothesis implicate sea level as a major control of the areal extent of grounded portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, thus fitting the concept of a globally interlocked ice-sheet system. But recent atmospheric modeling results ( Manabe and Broccoli, 1985, Journal of Geophysical Research90, 2167-2190) suggest that factors other than areal changes of the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet strongly influenced Southern Hemisphere climate and terminated the last ice age simultaneously in both polar hemispheres. Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked to high-latitude oceans is the most likely candidate ( Shackleton and Pisias, 1985, Atmospheric carbon dioxide, orbital forcing, and climate. In "The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO 2: Natural Variations Archean to Present" (E. T. Sundquest and W. S. Broecker, Eds.), pp. 303-318. Geophysical Monograph 32, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.), but another potential influence was high-frequency climatic oscillations (2500 yr). It is postulated that variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide acted through an Antarctic ice shelf linked to the grounded ice sheet to produce and terminate Southern Hemisphere ice-age climate. It is further postulated that Milankovitch summer insolation combined with a warm high-frequency oscillation caused marked recession of Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet melting margins and the North Atlantic polar front about 14,000 14C yr B.P. This

  8. Damage Mechanics in the Community Ice Sheet Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitcomb, R.; Cathles, L. M. M., IV; Bassis, J. N.; Lipscomb, W. H.; Price, S. F.

    2016-12-01

    Half of the mass that floating ice shelves lose to the ocean comes from iceberg calving, which is a difficult process to simulate accurately. This is especially true in the large-scale ice dynamics models that couple changes in the cryosphere to climate projections. Damage mechanics provide a powerful technique with the potential to overcome this obstacle by describing how fractures in ice evolve over time. Here, we demonstrate the application of a damage model to ice shelves that predicts realistic geometries. We incorporated this solver into the Community Ice Sheet Model, a three dimensional ice sheet model developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The damage mechanics formulation that we use comes from a first principles-based evolution law for the depth of basal and surface crevasses and depends on the large scale strain rate, stress state, and basal melt. We show that under idealized conditions it produces ice tongue lengths that match well with observations for a selection of natural ice tongues, including Erebus, Drygalski, and Pine Island in Antarctica, as well as Petermann in Greenland. We also apply the model to more generalized ideal ice shelf geometries and show that it produces realistic calving front positions. Although our results are preliminary, the damage mechanics model that we developed provides a promising first principles method for predicting ice shelf extent and how the calving margins of ice shelves respond to climate change.

  9. Large-scale Ice Discharge Events in a Pure Ice Sheet Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alverson, K.; Legrand, P.; Papa, B. D.; Mysak, L. A.; Wang, Z.

    2004-05-01

    Sediment cores in the North Atlantic show evidence of periodic large-scale ice discharge events between 60 ka and 10 ka BP. These events occurred with a typical period between 5 kyr and 10 kyr. During each event, a significant amount of ice was discharged from the Hudson Bay region through the Hudson Strait and into the North Atlantic. This input of freshwater through the melting of icebergs is thought to have strongly affected the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. One theory is that these periodic ice discharge events represent an internal oscillation of the ice sheet under constant forcing. A second theory requires some variable external forcing on an unstable ice sheet to produce a discharge event. Using the ice sheet model of Marshall, an attempt is made to simulate periodic large-scale ice discharge events within the framework of the first theory. In this case, ice sheet surges and large-scale discharge events occur as a free oscillation of the ice sheet. An analysis of the activation of ice surge events and the thermodynamic controls on these events is also made.

  10. SEMIC: an efficient surface energy and mass balance model applied to the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krapp, Mario; Robinson, Alexander; Ganopolski, Andrey

    2017-07-01

    We present SEMIC, a Surface Energy and Mass balance model of Intermediate Complexity for snow- and ice-covered surfaces such as the Greenland ice sheet. SEMIC is fast enough for glacial cycle applications, making it a suitable replacement for simpler methods such as the positive degree day (PDD) method often used in ice sheet modelling. Our model explicitly calculates the main processes involved in the surface energy and mass balance, while maintaining a simple interface and requiring minimal data input to drive it. In this novel approach, we parameterise diurnal temperature variations in order to more realistically capture the daily thaw-freeze cycles that characterise the ice sheet mass balance. We show how to derive optimal model parameters for SEMIC specifically to reproduce surface characteristics and day-to-day variations similar to the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional, version 2) and its incorporated multilayer snowpack model SISVAT (Soil Ice Snow Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer). A validation test shows that SEMIC simulates future changes in surface temperature and surface mass balance in good agreement with the more sophisticated multilayer snowpack model SISVAT included in MAR. With this paper, we present a physically based surface model to the ice sheet modelling community that is general enough to be used with in situ observations, climate model, or reanalysis data, and that is at the same time computationally fast enough for long-term integrations, such as glacial cycles or future climate change scenarios.

  11. Basal Melt Under the Interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Comparison of Models, Deep Ice Cores, and Radar Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rezvanbehbahani, S.; Stearns, L. A.; van der Veen, C. J.

    2014-12-01

    Basal ice temperature is a critical boundary condition for ice sheet models. It modulates the basal melt rate and sliding conditions, and also affects the ice hardness which alters the deformational velocity. Therefore, in order to obtain reliable estimates on the future mass loss of the ice sheets using numerical models, basal ice temperature is of paramount importance. In this study, the basal temperature and basal melt rate under the Greenland Ice Sheet are estimated using the Robin temperature solution. The analytical Robin solution is obtained by solving the heat conservation equation for steady state conditions, assuming that advection and diffusion are significant only in the vertical direction. In this study, the sensitivity of the basal temperature obtained from the Robin solution to changes in input parameters, including changes in atmospheric conditions, ice thickness, and geothermal heat flux is tested. Although the Robin solution is frequently used in glaciology, there has been no quantitative study to estimate the effect of neglecting the horizontal advection on basal temperatures in regions of higher velocity. Here, a two-dimensional model is applied to quantify the effect of horizontal heat advection on basal temperatures. Overall, horizontal heat advection lowers the basal temperature except in regions where surface mass balance gradients are negative along the flow. Comparing the results from the 2D temperature model to the Robin solution along multiple flowlines of the Greenland Ice Sheet suggest that the horizontal heat advection alters the basal temperatures by less than 3°C up to 30-45% of the flow distance away from the ice divide; at greater distances this difference increases rapidly. All simulations using the Robin solution predict substantial basal melting under the northeast drainage basin of the ice sheet. Our 2D model results also show that because of the negative surface mass balance gradient, horizontal heat advection increases the

  12. Greenland Ice Sheet: High-Elevation Balance and Peripheral Thinning.

    PubMed

    Krabill; Abdalati; Frederick; Manizade; Martin; Sonntag; Swift; Thomas; Wright; Yungel

    2000-07-21

    Aircraft laser-altimeter surveys over northern Greenland in 1994 and 1999 have been coupled with previously reported data from southern Greenland to analyze the recent mass-balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Above 2000 meters elevation, the ice sheet is in balance on average but has some regions of local thickening or thinning. Thinning predominates at lower elevations, with rates exceeding 1 meter per year close to the coast. Interpolation of our results between flight lines indicates a net loss of about 51 cubic kilometers of ice per year from the entire ice sheet, sufficient to raise sea level by 0.13 millimeter per year-approximately 7% of the observed rise.

  13. VESL: The Virtual Earth Sheet Laboratory for Ice Sheet Modeling and Visualization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, D. L. C.; Larour, E. Y.; Quinn, J. D.; Halkides, D. J.

    2016-12-01

    We introduce the Virtual Earth System Laboratory (VESL), a scientific modeling and visualization tool delivered through an integrated web portal for dissemination of data, simulation of physical processes, and promotion of climate literacy. The current prototype leverages NASA's Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), a state-of-the-art polar ice sheet dynamics model developed at the Jet Propulsion Lab and UC Irvine. We utilize the Emscripten source-to-source compiler to convert the C/C++ ISSM engine core to JavaScript, and bundled pre/post-processing JS scripts to be compatible with the existing ISSM Python/Matlab API. Researchers using VESL will be able to effectively present their work for public dissemination with little-to-no additional post-processing. This will allow for faster publication in peer-reviewed journals and adaption of results for educational applications. Through future application of this concept to multiple aspects of the Earth System, VESL has the potential to broaden data applications in the geosciences and beyond. At this stage, we seek feedback from the greater scientific and public outreach communities regarding the ease of use and feature set of VESL, as we plan its expansion, and aim to achieve more rapid communication and presentation of scientific results.

  14. Drainage beneath ice sheets: groundwater-channel coupling, and the origin of esker systems from former ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boulton, G. S.; Hagdorn, M.; Maillot, P. B.; Zatsepin, S.

    2009-04-01

    The nature of the drainage system beneath ice sheets is crucial to their dynamic behaviour but remains problematic. An experimentally based theory of coupling between groundwater and major channel systems is applied to the esker systems in the area occupied the last ice sheet in Europe, which we regard as a fossil imprint of major longitudinal drainage channels. We conclude that the large-scale distribution and spacing of major eskers is consistent with the theory of groundwater control, in which esker spacing is partly controlled by the transmissivity of the bed. It is concluded that esker patterns reflect the large-scale organisation of the subglacial drainage pattern in which channel development is coupled to groundwater flow and to the ice sheet's dynamic regime. The theory is then used to deduce: basal meltwater recharge rates and their spatial variability from esker spacing in an area in which the ice sheet was actively streaming during its final retreat; patterns of palaeo-groundwater flow and head distribution; and the seasonally varying magnitude of discharge from stream tunnels at the retreating ice sheet margin. Major channel/esker systems appear to have been stable at least over several hundred of years during the retreat of the ice sheet, although major dynamic events are demonstrably associated with major shifts in the hydraulic regime. Modelling suggests: that glaciation can stimulate deep groundwater circulation cells that are spatially linked to channel locations, with groundwater flow predominantly transverse to ice flow; that the circulation pattern has the potential to create large-scale anomalies in groundwater chemistry; and that the spacing of channels will change through the glacial cycle, influencing water pressures in stream tunnels, subglacial hydraulic gradients and effective pressure. If the latter is reduced sufficiently, it could trigger enhanced bed deformation, thus coupling drainage to ice sheet movement. It suggests the

  15. Unusual radar echoes from the Greenland ice sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rignot, E. J.; Vanzyl, J. J.; Ostro, S. J.; Jezek, K. C.

    1993-01-01

    In June 1991, the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory airborne synthetic-aperture radar (AIRSAR) instrument collected the first calibrated data set of multifrequency, polarimetric, radar observations of the Greenland ice sheet. At the time of the AIRSAR overflight, ground teams recorded the snow and firn (old snow) stratigraphy, grain size, density, and temperature at ice camps in three of the four snow zones identified by glaciologists to characterize four different degrees of summer melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The four snow zones are: (1) the dry-snow zone, at high elevation, where melting rarely occurs; (2) the percolation zone, where summer melting generates water that percolates down through the cold, porous, dry snow and then refreezes in place to form massive layers and pipes of solid ice; (3) the soaked-snow zone where melting saturates the snow with liquid water and forms standing lakes; and (4) the ablation zone, at the lowest elevations, where melting is vigorous enough to remove the seasonal snow cover and ablate the glacier ice. There is interest in mapping the spatial extent and temporal variability of these different snow zones repeatedly by using remote sensing techniques. The objectives of the 1991 experiment were to study changes in radar scattering properties across the different melting zones of the Greenland ice sheet, and relate the radar properties of the ice sheet to the snow and firn physical properties via relevant scattering mechanisms. Here, we present an analysis of the unusual radar echoes measured from the percolation zone.

  16. Determining Greenland Ice Sheet Accumulation Rates from Radar Remote Sensing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jezek, Kenneth C.

    2002-01-01

    An important component of NASA's Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) is a mass balance investigation of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The mass balance is calculated by taking the difference between the areally Integrated snow accumulation and the net ice discharge of the ice sheet. Uncertainties in this calculation Include the snow accumulation rate, which has traditionally been determined by interpolating data from ice core samples taken from isolated spots across the ice sheet. The sparse data associated with ice cores juxtaposed against the high spatial and temporal resolution provided by remote sensing , has motivated scientists to investigate relationships between accumulation rate and microwave observations as an option for obtaining spatially contiguous estimates. The objective of this PARCA continuation proposal was to complete an estimate of surface accumulation rate on the Greenland Ice Sheet derived from C-band radar backscatter data compiled in the ERS-1 SAR mosaic of data acquired during, September-November, 1992. An empirical equation, based on elevation and latitude, is used to determine the mean annual temperature. We examine the influence of accumulation rate, and mean annual temperature on C-band radar backscatter using a forward model, which incorporates snow metamorphosis and radar backscatter components. Our model is run over a range of accumulation and temperature conditions. Based on the model results, we generate a look-up table, which uniquely maps the measured radar backscatter, and mean annual temperature to accumulation rate. Our results compare favorably with in situ accumulation rate measurements falling within our study area.

  17. Greenland Ice Sheet flow response to runoff variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, Laura A.; Behn, Mark D.; Das, Sarah B.; Joughin, Ian; Noël, Brice P. Y.; Broeke, Michiel R.; Herring, Thomas

    2016-11-01

    We use observations of ice sheet surface motion from a Global Positioning System network operating from 2006 to 2014 around North Lake in west Greenland to investigate the dynamical response of the Greenland Ice Sheet's ablation area to interannual variability in surface melting. We find no statistically significant relationship between runoff season characteristics and ice flow velocities within a given year or season. Over the 7 year time series, annual velocities at North Lake decrease at an average rate of -0.9 ± 1.1 m yr-2, consistent with the negative trend in annual velocities observed in neighboring regions over recent decades. We find that net runoff integrated over several preceding years has a negative correlation with annual velocities, similar to findings from the two other available decadal records of ice velocity in western Greenland. However, we argue that this correlation is not necessarily evidence for a direct hydrologic mechanism acting on the timescale of multiple years but could be a statistical construct. Finally, we stress that neither the decadal slowdown trend nor the negative correlation between velocity and integrated runoff is predicted by current ice-sheet models, underscoring that these models do not yet capture all the relevant feedbacks between runoff and ice dynamics needed to predict long-term trends in ice sheet flow.

  18. Modelling West Antarctic ice sheet growth and collapse through the past five million years.

    PubMed

    Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert M

    2009-03-19

    The West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS), with ice volume equivalent to approximately 5 m of sea level, has long been considered capable of past and future catastrophic collapse. Today, the ice sheet is fringed by vulnerable floating ice shelves that buttress the fast flow of inland ice streams. Grounding lines are several hundred metres below sea level and the bed deepens upstream, raising the prospect of runaway retreat. Projections of future WAIS behaviour have been hampered by limited understanding of past variations and their underlying forcing mechanisms. Its variation since the Last Glacial Maximum is best known, with grounding lines advancing to the continental-shelf edges around approximately 15 kyr ago before retreating to near-modern locations by approximately 3 kyr ago. Prior collapses during the warmth of the early Pliocene epoch and some Pleistocene interglacials have been suggested indirectly from records of sea level and deep-sea-core isotopes, and by the discovery of open-ocean diatoms in subglacial sediments. Until now, however, little direct evidence of such behaviour has been available. Here we use a combined ice sheet/ice shelf model capable of high-resolution nesting with a new treatment of grounding-line dynamics and ice-shelf buttressing to simulate Antarctic ice sheet variations over the past five million years. Modelled WAIS variations range from full glacial extents with grounding lines near the continental shelf break, intermediate states similar to modern, and brief but dramatic retreats, leaving only small, isolated ice caps on West Antarctic islands. Transitions between glacial, intermediate and collapsed states are relatively rapid, taking one to several thousand years. Our simulation is in good agreement with a new sediment record (ANDRILL AND-1B) recovered from the western Ross Sea, indicating a long-term trend from more frequently collapsed to more glaciated states, dominant 40-kyr cyclicity in the Pliocene, and major retreats at

  19. Global Geodetic Signatures of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    James, Thomas S.; Ivins, Erik R.

    1997-01-01

    Four scenarios of present day Antarctic ice sheet mass change are developed from comprehensive reviews of the available glaciological and oceanographic evidence. The gridded scenarios predict widely varying contributions to secular sea level change xi ranging from -1.1 to 0.45 mm/yr, and predict polar motion m and time-varying low-degree gravitational coefficients J(sub l) that differ significantly from earlier estimates. A reasonably linear relationship between the rate of sea level change from Antarctica xi(sub A) and the predicted Antarctic J(sub l) is found for the four scenarios. This linearity permits a series of forward models to be constructed that incorporate the effects of ice mass changes in Antarctica, Greenland, and distributed smaller glaciers, as well as postglacial rebound (assuming the ICE-3G deglaciation history), with the goal of obtaining optimum reconciliation between observed constraints on J(sub l) and sea level rise xi. Numerous viable combinations of lower mantle viscosity and hydrologic sources are found that safely "observed" in the range of 1 to 2-2.5 mm/yr and observed J(sub l) for degrees 2, 3, and 4. In contrast, rates of global sea level rise above 2.5 mm/yr are inconsistent with available J(sub l) observations. The successful composite models feature a pair of lower mantle viscosity solutions arising from the sensitivity of J(sub l) to glacial rebound. The paired values are well separated at xi = 1 mm/yr, but move closer together as xi is increased, and, in fact, merge around xi = 2 - 2.5 mm/yr, revealing an intimate relation between xi and preferred lower mantle viscosity. This general pattern is quite robust and persists for different J(sub l) solutions, for variations in source assumptions, and for different styles of lower mantle viscosity stratification. Tighter J(sub l) constraints for l greater than 2 may allow some viscosity stratification schemes and source assumptions to be excluded in the future. For a given total

  20. Global Geodetic Signatures of the Antarctic Ice Sheet

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    James, Thomas S.; Ivins, Erik R.

    1997-01-01

    Four scenarios of present day Antarctic ice sheet mass change are developed from comprehensive reviews of the available glaciological and oceanographic evidence. The gridded scenarios predict widely varying contributions to secular sea level change xi ranging from -1.1 to 0.45 mm/yr, and predict polar motion m and time-varying low-degree gravitational coefficients J(sub l) that differ significantly from earlier estimates. A reasonably linear relationship between the rate of sea level change from Antarctica xi(sub A) and the predicted Antarctic J(sub l) is found for the four scenarios. This linearity permits a series of forward models to be constructed that incorporate the effects of ice mass changes in Antarctica, Greenland, and distributed smaller glaciers, as well as postglacial rebound (assuming the ICE-3G deglaciation history), with the goal of obtaining optimum reconciliation between observed constraints on J(sub l) and sea level rise xi. Numerous viable combinations of lower mantle viscosity and hydrologic sources are found that safely "observed" in the range of 1 to 2-2.5 mm/yr and observed J(sub l) for degrees 2, 3, and 4. In contrast, rates of global sea level rise above 2.5 mm/yr are inconsistent with available J(sub l) observations. The successful composite models feature a pair of lower mantle viscosity solutions arising from the sensitivity of J(sub l) to glacial rebound. The paired values are well separated at xi = 1 mm/yr, but move closer together as xi is increased, and, in fact, merge around xi = 2 - 2.5 mm/yr, revealing an intimate relation between xi and preferred lower mantle viscosity. This general pattern is quite robust and persists for different J(sub l) solutions, for variations in source assumptions, and for different styles of lower mantle viscosity stratification. Tighter J(sub l) constraints for l greater than 2 may allow some viscosity stratification schemes and source assumptions to be excluded in the future. For a given total

  1. Ice Sheet Oscillations During the Last Deglaciation in Western Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lohne, O. S.; Mangerud, J.; Svendsen, J.; Gyllencreutz, R.

    2009-12-01

    About 25-26ka cal BP, the Scandinavian Ice Sheet merged with the British Ice Sheet on the continental shelf in the northern part of the North Sea (Sejrup et al., 2009). The Norwegian Channel, that hosted a major ice stream, became finally deglaciated at around 18.5ka cal BP. The deglaciation of western Norway started first in the south and not later than 17-16 ka cal BP, the Jæren region was partly ice-free (Knudsen, 2006). The early deglaciation history in the Hardangerfjord-Bergen area was characterized by some rapid ice-margin oscillations. The extent and timing of the ice front variations are not well constrained, but probably they occurred sometime between 16-14.5ka cal BP. A main difficulty with the exact timing is the radiocarbon plateau around 12.3 ka 14C BP. Subsequently, during the Allerød, the ice sheet withdrew more than 50 km from the coastline, until it again started to re-advance. The recorded sea-level response of this re-advance indicates that the re-growth of the ice sheet started in the mid-Allerød, approximately at 13.6ka cal BP (Lohne et al., 2007), and it seems clear that the resulting ice sheet advance continued until the very end of the Younger Dryas when the prominent Herdla-Halsnøy Moraine was formed. In the 500-800 m deep Hardangerfjord the re-advance stopped at a bedrock threshold where the Halsnøy Moraine subsequently formed. As appear from the sediment stratigraphy in a lake basin on Halsnøy the advancing ice-margin reached the island slightly before the Vedde Ash fall (c. 12.1ka cal BP). The ice-front then halted on the bedrock sill, but stratigraphic evidence indicates that the fjord-glacier continued to grow in thickness. Marginal moraines from Halsnøy can be traced up to a level of about 1000 m a.s.l., 40 km further inland, reflecting a massive buildup of the ice sheet. The advancing ice-sheet reached its maximum position, both in the Bergen and Hardangerfjorden area, late in the YD. A more precise dating by radiocarbon is

  2. Paleozoic ice sheet inception; a study of paleogeographic sensitivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horton, D. E.; Poulsen, C. J.; Torsvik, T. H.

    2011-12-01

    Large-scale continental glaciation is thought to have been episodic throughout the Paleozoic era. Evidence of short-lived glaciation in the Ordovician, a period of questionable glaciation in the Devonian, and extensive glaciation in the Permo-Carboniferous are variously supported by the geologic record. The climatic conditions that allowed Earth to descend into icehouse conditions during these periods are not well understood. Traditionally, Paleozoic glaciation was thought to be driven by the drift of continents over the austral pole, yet a myriad of other factors play a role in global mean temperatures and the ability of an icehouse climate to initiate. In this sensitivity study we utilize a coupled GCM-ice sheet-biome model in conjunction with updated paleogeographic reconstructions to examine ice sheet initiation at 30 million year time slices throughout the Paleozoic. Each time slice is subjected to an ice-favorable orbital alignment and a range of atmospheric pCO2 concentrations in an effort to determine the influence of continent distribution and greenhouse gas concentration on ice sheet initiation. Our modeling results demonstrate that both continental configuration and atmospheric pCO2 concentration play a significant role in ice sheet initiation, ice sheet areal extent, and ice sheet volume. Our results indicate that the geographic configurations most conducive to continental glaciation occurred from the mid-Devonian to the early Carboniferous, a result that is inconsistent with the geologic record and suggests that continental drift wasn't the sole driving force behind the occurrence of Paleozoic ice ages.

  3. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shepherd, A.; Ivins, E. R.

    2015-12-01

    Fluctuations in the mass of ice stored in Antarctica and Greenland are of considerable societal importance. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-Comparison Exercise (IMBIE) is a joint-initiative of ESA and NASA aimed at producing a single estimate of the global sea level contribution to polar ice sheet losses. Within IMBIE, estimates of ice sheet mass balance are developed from a variety of satellite geodetic techniques using a common spatial and temporal reference frame and a common appreciation of the contributions due to external signals. The project brings together the laboratories and space agencies that have been instrumental in developing independent estimates of ice sheet mass balance to date. In its first phase, IMBIE involved 27 science teams, and delivered a first community assessment of ice sheet mass imbalance to replace 40 individual estimates. The project established that (i) there is good agreement between the three main satellite-based techniques for estimating ice sheet mass balance, (ii) combining satellite data sets leads to significant improvement in certainty, (iii) the polar ice sheets contributed 11 ± 4 mm to global sea levels between 1992 and 2012, and (iv) that combined ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland have increased over time, rising from 10% of the global trend in the early 1990's to 30% in the late 2000's. Demand for an updated assessment has grown, and there are now new satellite missions, new geophysical corrections, new techniques, and new teams producing data. The period of overlap between independent satellite techniques has increased from 5 to 12 years, and the full period of satellite data over which an assessment can be performed has increased from 19 to 40 years. It is also clear that multiple satellite techniques are required to confidently separate mass changes associated with snowfall and ice dynamical imbalance - information that is of critical importance for climate modelling. This presentation outlines the approach

  4. A continuum mixture model of ice stream thermomechanics in the Laurentide Ice Sheet 1. Theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, Shawn J.; Clarke, Garry K. C.

    1997-01-01

    We employ a continuum mixture framework to incorporate ice streams in a three-dimensional thermomechanical model of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The ice mass is composed of a binary mixture of sheet ice, which deforms by viscous creep, and stream ice, which flows by sliding and/or sediment deformation at the bed. Dynamic and thermal evolutions are solved for each component in the mixture, with coupling rules to govern transfer between flow regimes. We describe two different transfer mechanisms: (1) creep exchange, the nourishment of ice streams by viscous creep inflow from the surrounding ice sheet, and (2) bed exchange, the activation, growth, and deactivation of ice streams, perpetrated by transfers of bed area between flow constituents. This paper develops the underlying mixture theory. We express the governing equations for mass, momentum, and energy balance in a form suitable for direct incorporation in existing numerical models of ice thermomechanics. A companion paper in this issue explores mixture and ice stream behavior in applications with the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

  5. Outreach/education interface for Cryosphere models using the Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larour, E. Y.; Halkides, D. J.; Romero, V.; Cheng, D. L.; Perez, G.

    2014-12-01

    In the past decade, great strides have been made in the development of models capable of projecting the future evolution of glaciers and the polar ice sheets in a changing climate. These models are now capable of replicating some of the trends apparent in satellite observations. However, because this field is just now maturing, very few efforts have been dedicated to adapting these capabilities to education. Technologies that have been used in outreach efforts in Atmospheric and Oceanic sciences still have not been extended to Cryospheric Science. We present a cutting-edge, technologically driven virtual laboratory, geared towards outreach and k-12 education, dedicated to the polar ice sheets on Antarctica and Greenland, and their role as major contributors to sea level rise in coming decades. VISL (Virtual Ice Sheet Laboratory) relies on state-of-the art Web GL rendering of polar ice sheets, Android/iPhone and web portability using Javascript, as well as C++ simulations (back-end) based on the Ice Sheet System Model, the NASA model for simulating the evolution of polar ice sheets. Using VISL, educators and students can have an immersive experience into the world of polar ice sheets, while at the same exercising the capabilities of a state-of-the-art climate model, all of it embedded into an education experience that follows the new STEM standards for education.This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Science Program.

  6. Testing of SIR (a transformable robotic submarine) in Lake Tahoe for future deployment at West Antarctic Ice Sheet grounding lines of Siple Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powell, R. D.; Scherer, R. P.; Griffiths, I.; Taylor, L.; Winans, J.; Mankoff, K. D.

    2011-12-01

    A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has been custom-designed and built by DOER Marine to meet scientific requirements for exploring subglacial water cavities. This sub-ice rover (SIR) will explore and quantitatively document the grounding zone areas of the Ross Ice Shelf cavity using a 3km-long umbilical tether by deployment through an 800m-long ice borehole in a torpedo shape, which is also its default mode if operational failure occurs. Once in the ocean cavity it transforms via a diamond-shaped geometry into a rectangular form when all of its instruments come alive in its flight mode. Instrumentation includes 4 cameras (one forward-looking HD), a vertical scanning sonar (long-range imaging for spatial orientation and navigation), Doppler current meter (determine water current velocities), multi-beam sonar (image and swath map bottom topography), sub-bottom profiler (profile sub-sea-floor sediment for geological history), CTD (determine salinity, temperature and depth), DO meter (determine dissolved oxygen content in water), transmissometer (determine suspended particulate concentrations in water), laser particle-size analyzer (determine sizes of particles in water), triple laser-beams (determine size and volume of objects), thermistor probe (measure in situ temperatures of ice and sediment), shear vane probe (determine in situ strength of sediment), manipulator arm (deploy instrumentation packages, collect samples), shallow ice corer (collect ice samples and glacial debris), water sampler (determine sea water/freshwater composition, calibrate real-time sensors, sample microbes), shallow sediment corer (sample sea floor, in-ice and subglacial sediment for stratigraphy, facies, particle size, composition, structure, fabric, microbes). A sophisticated array of data handling, storing and displaying will allow real-time observations and environmental assessments to be made. This robotic submarine and other instruments will be tested in Lake Tahoe in September, 2011 and

  7. Global warming and the growth of ice sheets

    SciTech Connect

    Ledley, T.S.; Chu, S.

    1994-01-01

    Recent research has suggested that warmer conditions, that may result from increased levels of CO{sub 2} in the atmosphere, may induce the growth of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets through the impact of warmer temperature on the water carrying capacity of the atmosphere and thus on precipitation. In this study we examine this possibility using a coupled energy balance climate-thermodynamic sea ice model. Results indicate that if summer ice albedo is high enough, and there is some mechanism for initially maintaining ice through the summer season, then it may be possible to have ice sheet growth under the conditions of CO{sub 2} induced warming. 30 refs., 5 figs., 2 tabs.

  8. Records of past ice sheet fluctuations in interior East Antarctica

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Liu, Xiaohan; Huang, Feixin; Kong, Ping; Fang, Aimin; Li, Xiaoli

    2007-01-01

    The results of a land-based multi-disciplinary study of the past ice surface elevation in the Grove Mountains of interior East Antarctica support a dynamic evolution of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Moraine boulders of sedimentary rocks and spore pollen assemblage imply a significant shrinkage of the EAIS, with its margin retreating south of the Grove Mountains (~450 km south of recent coast line) before the middle Pliocene. The exposure ages indicate that the ice sheet subsequently re-advanced, with the ice surface rising locally at least 450 m higher than today. It then went back down constantly from before 2.3 Ma to 1.6 Ma. The glacial topography and existence of soil show that the ice surface fluctuation continued since the early Quaternary, but with highest levels never exceeding ~100 m higher than today.

  9. Entrainment, transport and concentration of meteorites in polar ice sheets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Drewry, D. J.

    1986-01-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets act as slow-moving conveyancing systems for material added to both their upper and lower surfaces. Because the transit time for most materials is extremely long the ice acts as a major global storage facility. The effects of horizontal and vertical motions on the flow patterns of Antarctic ice sheets are summarized. The determination of the source areas of meteorites and their transport paths is a problem of central importance since it relates not only directly to concentration mechanisms but also to the wider issues in glaciology and meteorites. The ice and snow into which a meteorite falls, and which moves with it to the concentration area, encodes information about the infall area. The principle environmental conditions being former elevation, temperature (also related to elevation), and age of the ice. This encoded information could be used to identify the infall area.

  10. Arctic greenhouse-gas storage and release modulated by late-glacial ice sheet fluctuations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Portnov, Alexey; Mienert, Jurgen; Vadakkepuliyambatta, Sunil; Patton, Henry; Andreassen, Karin; Winsborrow, Monica; Knies, Jochen; Hubbard, Alun I.

    2016-04-01

    The subglacial footprint of the Barents Sea Ice sheet which advanced across northern Eurasia from 26 to 22 ka BP had a major impact on the underlying gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) leading to storage of methane and other hydrocarbons. With the onset of deglaciation, these hydrocarbon rich hydrates dissociated, releasing potent greenhouse gas into the ocean and possibly atmosphere over a period of thousands of years. We present a wide-range of observational data acquired from offshore western Svalbard and the Barents Sea to robustly constrain a coupled model of the subglacial evolution of gas hydrate reservoirs during and after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Our results indicate that even under minimum ice thickness reconstructions, an extensive, ~500-meter thick GHSZ existed beneath the ice sheet in our study area offshore of western Svalbard (Portnov et al., 2016). An offshore corridor of methane release did though also persist throughout maximum ice conditions on the upper continental margin. Throughout the LGM a marine ice sheet directly comparable to those of Greenland and Antarctica today inundated the continental margin offshore of western Svalbard and the vast shelf areas of the Barents Sea. However, with climatic amelioration the Barents Sea ice sheet experienced a 4ka period of dynamic retreat with concurrent flooding of the shelf by rising sea levels, which provided a high magnitude perturbation to the substrate pressure and temperature domains. By analogy, the future response of Polar ice sheets is an emerging concern as their ongoing thinning and retreat will likewise perturb the present day subglacial GHSZ leading to potential widespread gas hydrate destabilisation and release. Portnov, Alexey, et al. "Ice-sheet-driven methane storage and release in the Arctic", Nature Comm. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10314. (2016).

  11. Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD): Integrative Study of Marine Ice Sheet Stability and Subglacial Life Habitats (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tulaczyk, S. M.; Anandakrishnan, S.; Behar, A. E.; Christner, B. C.; Fisher, A. T.; Fricker, H. A.; Holland, D. M.; Jacobel, R. W.; Mikucki, J.; Mitchell, A. C.; Powell, R. D.; Priscu, J. C.; Scherer, R. P.; Severinghaus, J. P.

    2009-12-01

    The WISSARD project is a large, NSF-funded, interdisciplinary initiative focused on scientific drilling, exploration, and investigation of Antarctic subglacial aquatic environments. The project consists of three interrelated components: (1) LISSARD - Lake and Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling, (2) RAGES - Robotic Access to Grounding-zones for Exploration and Science, and (3) GBASE - GeomicroBiology of Antarctic Subglacial Environments). A number of previous studies in West Antarctica highlighted the importance of understanding ice sheet interactions with water, either at the basal boundary where ice streams come in contact with active subglacial hydrologic and geological systems or at the marine margin where the ice sheet is exposed to forcing from the global ocean and sedimentation. Recent biological investigations of Antarctic subglacial environments show that they provide a significant habitat for life and source of bacterial carbon in a setting that was previously thought to be inhospitable. Subglacial microbial ecosystems also enhance biogeochemical weathering, mobilizing elements from long term geological storage. The overarching scientific objective of WISSARD is to examine the subglacial hydrological system of West Antarctica in glaciological, geological, microbiological, geochemical, and oceanographic contexts. Direct sampling will yield seminal information on these systems and test the overarching hypothesis that active hydrological systems connect various subglacial environments and exert major control on ice sheet dynamics, subglacial sediment transfer, geochemistry, metabolic and phylogenetic diversity, and biogeochemical transformations and geological records of ice sheet history. Technological advances during WISSARD will provide the US-science community with a capability to access and study sub-ice sheet environments. Developing this technological infrastructure will benefit the broader science community and it will be available for

  12. Fluvial supraglacial landscape evolution on the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karlstrom, Leif; Yang, Kang

    2016-03-01

    Supraglacial stream networks incise via thermal erosion of underlying ice, reflecting a balance between localized fluvial incision and dynamic topography from underlying ice flow. We analyze high-resolution digital elevation models of the ice surface and bedrock in the southwest Greenland Ice Sheet from 1000-1600 m elevation to quantify the importance of fluvial erosion. At wavelengths greater than ice thickness, bedrock dominates surface topography so supraglacial drainage basins are fixed spatially. At smaller wavelengths, fluvial erosion significantly affects topography. Stream longitudinal profiles exhibit positive mean curvature and consistent power law scaling between local channel slope and drainage area, suggestive of adjustment toward topographic steady state. We interpret these observations with a model for fluvial thermal erosion on top of a flowing ice substrate that predicts concave up steady state longitudinal profiles, where average concavity is most sensitive to melt rate and the relative magnitudes of ice flow and fluvial erosion.

  13. Sensitivity and initialisation of a moving mesh ice sheet model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonan, Bertrand; Baines, Michael J.; Nichols, Nancy K.; Partridge, Dale

    2014-05-01

    One of the most important issues in marine ice sheet modelling is tracking accurately the evolution of the snout and the grounding line. Here we present a moving mesh method that is well-suited to tracking moving phenomena accurately. We study the behaviour of the method for a flow line version using the Shallow Ice Approximation. The solution procedure uses the conservation of mass fractions to define a deformation velocity that generates movement of the support of the ice. The ice thickness is recovered using the conservation principle. In order to initialise the moving mesh model, we apply advanced inverse data assimilation techniques to the system. We develop particularly an Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) approach in this context. EnKF is an efficient Monte-Carlo method based on Gaussian assumptions. Contrary to variational methods, it does not require the development of the adjoint of the model. The data assimilation procedure treats both the mesh point positions and the ice sheet thickness as unknown state variables and updates both of these at each assimilation step. The advantage of the ensemble approach is that it enables the sensitivity of the system to be understood and, more importantly, provides information on the correlations between the variables, in particular between the grid and the ice thickness. We demonstrate the success of the technique for noisy, infrequent, partial measurements of ice thickness, both with and without noisy measurements of the terminus position. The moving mesh and EnKF methods can be extended to coupled models of grounded ice sheets and floating ice shelves. The covariances between the states of the system at the grounding line derived by the method will provide valuable information on the coupled system. The techniques presented here can also be extended to include the estimation of parameters, such as the basal sliding coefficient and the bedrock topography, and to two dimensional ice sheets.

  14. Improving Surface Mass Balance Over Ice Sheets and Snow Depth on Sea Ice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koenig, Lora Suzanne; Box, Jason; Kurtz, Nathan

    2013-01-01

    Surface mass balance (SMB) over ice sheets and snow on sea ice (SOSI) are important components of the cryosphere. Large knowledge gaps remain in scientists' abilities to monitor SMB and SOSI, including insufficient measurements and difficulties with satellite retrievals. On ice sheets, snow accumulation is the sole mass gain to SMB, and meltwater runoff can be the dominant single loss factor in extremely warm years such as 2012. SOSI affects the growth and melt cycle of the Earth's polar sea ice cover. The summer of 2012 saw the largest satellite-recorded melt area over the Greenland ice sheet and the smallest satellite-recorded Arctic sea ice extent, making this meeting both timely and relevant.

  15. Geological and geomorphological insights into Antarctic ice sheet evolution.

    PubMed

    Sugden, David E; Bentley, Michael J; O Cofaigh, Colm

    2006-07-15

    Technical advances in the study of ice-free parts of Antarctica can provide quantitative records that are useful for constraining and refining models of ice sheet evolution and behaviour. Such records improve our understanding of system trajectory, influence the questions we ask about system stability and help to define the ice-sheet processes that are relevant on different time-scales. Here, we illustrate the contribution of cosmogenic isotope analysis of exposed bedrock surfaces and marine geophysical surveying to the understanding of Antarctic ice sheet evolution on a range of time-scales. In the Dry Valleys of East Antarctica, 3He dating of subglacial flood deposits that are now exposed on mountain summits provide evidence of an expanded and thicker Mid-Miocene ice sheet. The survival of surface boulders for approximately 14Myr, the oldest yet measured, demonstrates exceptionally low rates of subsequent erosion and points to the persistence and stability of the dry polar desert climate since that time. Increasingly, there are constraints on West Antarctic ice sheet fluctuations during Quaternary glacial cycles. In the Sarnoff Mountains of Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica, 10Be and 26Al cosmogenic isotope analysis of glacial erratics and bedrock reveal steady thinning of the ice sheet from 10400 years ago to the present, probably as a result of grounding line retreat. In the Antarctic Peninsula, offshore analysis reveals an extensive ice sheet at the last glacial maximum. Based on radiocarbon dating, deglaciation began by 17000cal yr BP and was complete by 9500cal yr BP. Deglaciation of the west and east sides of the Antarctic Peninsula ice sheet occurred at different times and rates, but was largely complete by the Early Holocene. At that time ice shelves were less extensive on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula than they are today. The message from the past is that individual glacier drainage basins in Antarctica respond in different and distinctive

  16. Using Coastal Ice Cap Records to Investigate Maritime Climate and Ice Sheet Processes in West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, S. B.; Evans, M. J.; Frey, K. E.; Osman, M. B.; Smith, B. E.; Stevens, L. A.; Trusel, L. D.; York, A.; Bingham, M.

    2014-12-01

    Recent changes, including outlet glacier retreat and speedup, and increased rates of surface melting, have dramatically increased the Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea-level rise over the past few decades. Increasingly studies point towards the influence of coupled ocean-ice processes in modulating Greenland ice sheet mass balance and glacier behavior in response to climate change, but many of these studies are limited to the past few years to decades, restricting our ability to understand these ocean-ice relationships over longer time periods. Ice core records have the potential to provide unique, high-resolution records of interest (e.g. accumulation and melt variability, as well as contemporaneous proxy records of regional air temperature and sea surface conditions), but suitable Greenland ice sheet coring regions are often located far inland (>200 km) from many maritime regions of interest. In this study we focus on new records from previously unstudied maritime ice caps (10-30 km from the coast) to reconstruct past environmental conditions in the Disko, Ummannaq and Baffin Bay regions. Here we present results from our recent 2014 field investigation of three high altitude ice caps (1300-2000 m) on Disko Island and the Nuussuaq Peninsula, as well as complementary results from two sites in the western ice sheet accumulation zone. Geophysical observations provide constraints on ice thickness, layering, and ice flow. Physical and chemical stratigraphic observations from snow pits and shallow firn cores are used to reconstruct recent accumulation rate and melt variability, as well as to develop and test environmental proxy relationships over the satellite era. Multi-century records from longer coastal ice cores, to be drilled in 2015, will contribute a key missing component to the existing observational record documenting ice, ocean and atmospheric changes in this region over a time period of dramatic change in Greenland ice sheet behavior (retreat and

  17. High-resolution coupled ice sheet-ocean modeling using the POPSICLES model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ng, E. G.; Martin, D. F.; Asay-Davis, X.; Price, S. F.; Collins, W.

    2014-12-01

    It is expected that a primary driver of future change of the Antarctic ice sheet will be changes in submarine melting driven by incursions of warm ocean water into sub-ice shelf cavities. Correctly modeling this response on a continental scale will require high-resolution modeling of the coupled ice-ocean system. We describe the computational and modeling challenges in our simulations of the full Southern Ocean coupled to a continental-scale Antarctic ice sheet model at unprecedented spatial resolutions (0.1 degree for the ocean model and adaptive mesh refinement down to 500m in the ice sheet model). The POPSICLES model couples the POP2x ocean model, a modified version of the Parallel Ocean Program (Smith and Gent, 2002), with the BISICLES ice-sheet model (Cornford et al., 2012) using a synchronous offline-coupling scheme. Part of the PISCEES SciDAC project and built on the Chombo framework, BISICLES makes use of adaptive mesh refinement to fully resolve dynamically-important regions like grounding lines and employs a momentum balance similar to the vertically-integrated formulation of Schoof and Hindmarsh (2009). Results of BISICLES simulations have compared favorably to comparable simulations with a Stokes momentum balance in both idealized tests like MISMIP3D (Pattyn et al., 2013) and realistic configurations (Favier et al. 2014). POP2x includes sub-ice-shelf circulation using partial top cells (Losch, 2008) and boundary layer physics following Holland and Jenkins (1999), Jenkins (2001), and Jenkins et al. (2010). Standalone POP2x output compares well with standard ice-ocean test cases (e.g., ISOMIP; Losch, 2008) and other continental-scale simulations and melt-rate observations (Kimura et al., 2013; Rignot et al., 2013). For the POPSICLES Antarctic-Southern Ocean simulations, ice sheet and ocean models communicate at one-month coupling intervals.

  18. Are longitudinal ice-surface structures on the Antarctic Ice Sheet indicators of long-term ice-flow configuration?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glasser, N. F.; Jennings, S. J. A.; Hambrey, M. J.; Hubbard, B.

    2014-07-01

    Continent-wide mapping of longitudinal ice-surface structures on the Antarctic Ice Sheet reveals that they originate in the interior of the ice sheet and are arranged in arborescent networks fed by multiple tributaries. Longitudinal ice-surface structures can be traced continuously down-ice for distances of up to 1200 km. They are co-located with fast-flowing glaciers and ice streams that are dominated by basal sliding rates above tens of m yr-1 and are strongly guided by subglacial topography. Longitudinal ice-surface structures dominate regions of converging flow, where ice flow is subject to non-coaxial strain and simple shear. Associating these structures with the AIS' surface velocity field reveals (i) ice residence times of ~ 2500 to 18 500 years, and (ii) undeformed flow-line sets for all major flow units analysed except the Kamb Ice Stream and the Institute and Möller Ice Stream areas. Although it is unclear how long it takes for these features to form and decay, we infer that the major ice-flow and ice-velocity configuration of the ice sheet may have remained largely unchanged for several thousand years, and possibly even since the end of the last glacial cycle. This conclusion has implications for our understanding of the long-term landscape evolution of Antarctica, including large-scale patterns of glacial erosion and deposition.

  19. A simple equation for the melt elevation feedback of ice sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levermann, Anders; Winkelmann, Ricarda

    2016-08-01

    In recent decades, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been losing mass and has thereby contributed to global sea-level rise. The rate of ice loss is highly relevant for coastal protection worldwide. The ice loss is likely to increase under future warming. Beyond a critical temperature threshold, a meltdown of the Greenland Ice Sheet is induced by the self-enforcing feedback between its lowering surface elevation and its increasing surface mass loss: the more ice that is lost, the lower the ice surface and the warmer the surface air temperature, which fosters further melting and ice loss. The computation of this rate so far relies on complex numerical models which are the appropriate tools for capturing the complexity of the problem. By contrast we aim here at gaining a conceptual understanding by deriving a purposefully simple equation for the self-enforcing feedback which is then used to estimate the melt time for different levels of warming using three observable characteristics of the ice sheet itself and its surroundings. The analysis is purely conceptual in nature. It is missing important processes like ice dynamics for it to be useful for applications to sea-level rise on centennial timescales, but if the volume loss is dominated by the feedback, the resulting logarithmic equation unifies existing numerical simulations and shows that the melt time depends strongly on the level of warming with a critical slowdown near the threshold: the median time to lose 10 % of the present-day ice volume varies between about 3500 years for a temperature level of 0.5 °C above the threshold and 500 years for 5 °C. Unless future observations show a significantly higher melting sensitivity than currently observed, a complete meltdown is unlikely within the next 2000 years without significant ice-dynamical contributions.

  20. Effects of rapid grounding line retreat investigated with three-dimensional ice sheet-ice shelf models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pattyn, F.; Docquier, D.; Durand, G.; Favier, L.; Gagliardini, O.; Hindmarsh, R. C.; Zwinger, T.

    2011-12-01

    Understanding and attributing future sea-level changes demands serious efforts on the development of efficient ice sheet - ice shelf models that capture the essential physics and mechanics of grounding line behavior. While semi-analytical solutions for grounding line behavior are available for the flowline case, such solution fails to exist for more complex three-dimensional geometries. A way of evaluating the quality of ice sheet models is to verify them against more complex model solutions under controlled conditions. Given the computational demands of such models, it is extremely attractive from a computational point of view to use flux/thickness parameterizations in 3d models. Here we investigated the transition between ice sheet and ice shelf with series of different numerical models, ranging from full Stokes (Elmer/Ice) models, pseudo-spectral methods to a 2d vertically integrated finite-difference 'shelfy-stream' model, taking into account grounding line dynamics, and using parameterizations by Schoof (2007) and Pollard and DeConto (2009). Rapid grounding line migration was provoked by changing sliding at the grounding line, resulting in curved grounding lines influenced by lateral effects. We tested whether flux parameterizations are still valid under such conditions, especially when buttressing effects are taken into account.

  1. The Greenland Ice Sheet-ocean interaction in the past two glacial cycles.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tabone, Ilaria; Robinson, Alexander; Álvarez-Solas, Jorge; Montoya, Marisa

    2017-04-01

    Observations suggest that during the last decades the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has lost a huge amount of ice, significantly contributing to current sea level rise. A portion of this intensified ice discharge is connected to the observed acceleration of Greenland's marine-terminating glaciers, which recent studies directly attribute to increasing North Atlantic temperatures, triggering melting of the GrIS outlet glaciers, grounding-line retreat, enhanced ice discharge into the ocean and potentially contributing to current sea level changes. Analysis of the past GrIS evolution is crucial for a better understanding of its current behavior and its sensitivity to future climate variations. Reconstructions suggest that in glacial times the GrIS expanded up to the continental shelf, while warmer interglacial climates led to its rapid retreat, triggering a fast discharge of ice into the ocean. In this work the response of the GrIS to past climate changes, in particular glacial cycles, has been studied using a three-dimensional hybrid ice-sheet/ice-shelf model. The model features the capability to simulate ice sheets, ice shelves and ice streams as it applies both the Shallow Ice Approximation (SIA), in grounded areas of the ice sheet moving under slow, deformational flow, and the Shallow Shelf Approximation (SSA), in ice shelves and ice streams. This has allowed us to assess the effect of the variation of oceanic temperatures on the GrIS evolution throughout the two last glacial cycles through changes in submarine melting, an aspect that has not been investigated up to now. The results show a very high-sensitivity of the GrIS to the changing oceanic properties, among which oceanic temperature and heat flux variations are found to be the main drivers of the GrIS expansion and retreat throughout the past climates. This work therefore confirms that the ice-ocean interaction is a crucial factor driving Greenland's marine-terminating ice adjustments and highlights the need

  2. Greenland ice sheet melting during the last interglacial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langebroek, Petra M.; Nisancioglu, Kerim H.

    2016-04-01

    During the last interglacial period (LIG) peak temperatures over Greenland were several degrees warmer than today. The Greenland ice sheet (GIS) retreated causing a global sea-level rise in the order of several meters. Large uncertainties still exist in the exact amount of melt and on the source location of this melt. Here we examine the GIS response to LIG temperature and precipitation patterns using the SICOPOLIS ice sheet model. The LIG climate was simulated by forcing the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) with the appropriate greenhouse gases and orbital settings. The resulting LIG ice volume evolution strongly depends on the chosen value of uncertain model parameters for the ice sheet (e.g. basal sliding parameter, PDD factors, and atmospheric temperature lapse rate). We reduce the uncertainty by evaluating an ensemble of model results against present-day observations of ice sheet size, elevation and stability, together with paleo information from deep ice cores. We find a maximum GIS reduction equivalent to 0.8 to 2.2m of global sea-level rise. In this model set-up most of the melting occurs in southwestern Greenland.

  3. SPH non-Newtonian Model for Ice Sheet and Ice Shelf Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Tartakovsky, Alexandre M.; Pan, Wenxiao; Monaghan, Joseph J.

    2012-07-07

    We propose a new three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) non-Newtonian model to study coupled ice sheet and ice shelf dynamics. Most existing ice sheet numerical models use a grid-based Eulerian approach, and are usually restricted to shallow ice sheet and ice shelf approximations of the momentum conservation equation. SPH, a fully Lagrangian particle method, solves the full momentum conservation equation. SPH method also allows modeling of free-surface flows, large material deformation, and material fragmentation without employing complex front-tracking schemes, and does not require re-meshing. As a result, SPH codes are highly scalable. Numerical accuracy of the proposed SPH model is first verified by simulating a plane shear flow with a free surface and the propagation of a blob of ice along a horizontal surface. Next, the SPH model is used to investigate the grounding line dynamics of ice sheet/shelf. The steady position of the grounding line, obtained from our SPH simulations, is in good agreement with laboratory observations for a wide range of bedrock slopes, ice-to-fluid density ratios, and flux. We examine the effect of non-Newtonian behavior of ice on the grounding line dynamics. The non-Newtonian constitutive model is based on Glen's law for a creeping flow of a polycrystalline ice. Finally, we investigate the effect of a bedrock geometry on a steady-state position of the grounding line.

  4. The Greenland Ice Sheet as a hot spot of phosphorus weathering and export in the Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hawkings, Jon; Wadham, Jemma; Tranter, Martyn; Telling, Jon; Bagshaw, Elizabeth; Beaton, Alexander; Simmons, Sarah-Louise; Chandler, David; Tedstone, Andrew; Nienow, Peter

    2016-02-01

    The contribution of ice sheets to the global biogeochemical cycle of phosphorus is largely unknown, due to the lack of field data. Here we present the first comprehensive study of phosphorus export from two Greenland Ice Sheet glaciers. Our results indicate that the ice sheet is a hot spot of phosphorus export in the Arctic. Soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentrations, up to 0.35 µM, are similar to those observed in Arctic rivers. Yields of SRP are among the highest in the literature, with denudation rates of 17-27 kg P km-2 yr-1. Particulate phases, as with nonglaciated catchments, dominate phosphorus export (>97% of total phosphorus flux). The labile particulate fraction differs between the two glaciers studied, with significantly higher yields found at the larger glacier (57.3 versus 8.3 kg P km-2 yr-1). Total phosphorus yields are an order of magnitude higher than riverine values reported in the literature. We estimate that the ice sheet contributes ~15% of total bioavailable phosphorus input to the Arctic oceans (~11 Gg yr-1) and dominates total phosphorus input (408 Gg yr-1), which is more than 3 times that estimated from Arctic rivers (126 Gg yr-1). We predict that these fluxes will rise with increasing ice sheet freshwater discharge in the future.

  5. The Influence of Earth structure on a coupled Antarctic ice sheet - sea level model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomez, N. A.; Pollard, D.; Holland, D. M.; Latychev, K.

    2014-12-01

    Earth structure beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet is characterized by significant lateral variability. A stable, thick craton exists in the east, while the west is underlain by a large continental rift system and a relatively thin lithosphere. Moreover, high resolution seismic tomography indicates slow wave speeds in the shallow mantle below WAIS, suggesting a hot, low viscosity asthenosphere. Variations in viscoelastic Earth structure can impact predictions of relative sea-level change and present-day crustal deformation rates by: 1) altering the timing and geometry of load-induced Earth deformation; and 2) perturbing, via a sea-level feedback (Gomez et al., EPSL, 2013), the timing and extent of the ice-sheet retreat. In this talk we use a coupled ice sheet - sea level model to explore the sensitivity of predictions of glacial isostatic adjustment and ice-sheet evolution in the Antarctic region to variations in Earth model parameters. We begin with a large suite of simulations in which 1-D (depth dependent) viscosity structure is varied over ranges that capture depth profiles inferred beneath the West and East Antarctic. We also present a simulation that incorporate 3-D variations in lithospheric thickness and mantle viscosity. The calculations will focus both on the evolution of the region since the Last Glacial Maximum and on projections of future, climate change driven ice-sheet retreat.

  6. On the importance of the albedo parameterization for the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet in EC-Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helsen, Michiel M.; van de Wal, Roderik S. W.; Reerink, Thomas J.; Bintanja, Richard; Madsen, Marianne S.; Yang, Shuting; Li, Qiang; Zhang, Qiong

    2017-08-01

    The albedo of the surface of ice sheets changes as a function of time due to the effects of deposition of new snow, ageing of dry snow, bare ice exposure, melting and run-off. Currently, the calculation of the albedo of ice sheets is highly parameterized within the earth system model EC-Earth by taking a constant value for areas with thick perennial snow cover. This is an important reason why the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is poorly resolved in the model. The purpose of this study is to improve the SMB forcing of the GrIS by evaluating different parameter settings within a snow albedo scheme. By allowing ice-sheet albedo to vary as a function of wet and dry conditions, the spatial distribution of albedo and melt rate improves. Nevertheless, the spatial distribution of SMB in EC-Earth is not significantly improved. As a reason for this, we identify omissions in the current snow albedo scheme, such as separate treatment of snow and ice and the effect of refreezing. The resulting SMB is downscaled from the lower-resolution global climate model topography to the higher-resolution ice-sheet topography of the GrIS, such that the influence of these different SMB climatologies on the long-term evolution of the GrIS is tested by ice-sheet model simulations. From these ice-sheet simulations we conclude that an albedo scheme with a short response time of decaying albedo during wet conditions performs best with respect to long-term simulated ice-sheet volume. This results in an optimized albedo parameterization that can be used in future EC-Earth simulations with an interactive ice-sheet component.

  7. Assessing the links between Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Balance and Arctic climate using Climate Models and Observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mottram, Ruth; Rodehacke, Christian; Boberg, Fredrik; Langen, Peter; Sloth Madsen, Marianne; Høyer Svendsen, Synne; Yang, Shuting; Hesselbjerg Christensen, Jens; Olesen, Martin

    2016-04-01

    Changes in different parts of the Arctic cryosphere may have knock-on effects on other parts of the system. The fully coupled climate model EC-Earth, which includes the ice sheet model PISM, is a useful tool to examine interactions between sea ice, ice sheet, ocean and atmosphere. Here we present results from EC-Earth experimental simulations that show including an interactive ice sheet model changes ocean circulation, sea ice extent and regional climate with, for example, a dampening of the expected increase in Arctic temperatures under the RCP scenarios when compared with uncoupled experiments. However, the relatively coarse resolution of the climate model likely influences the calculated surface mass balance forcing applied to the ice sheet model and it is important therefore to evaluate the model performance over the ice sheet. Here, we assess the quality of the climate forcing from the GCM to the ice sheet model by comparing the energy balance and surface mass balance (SMB) output from EC-Earth with that from a regional climate model (RCM) run at very high resolution (0.05 degrees) over Greenland. The RCM, HIRHAM5, has been evaluated over a wide range of climate parameters for Greenland which allows us to be confident it gives a representative climate forcing for the Greenland ice sheet. To evaluate the internal variability in the climate forcing, we compare simulations from HIRHAM5 forced with both the EC-Earth historical emissions and the ERA-Interim reanalysis on the boundaries. The EC-Earth-PISM RCP8.5 scenario is also compared with an EC-Earth run without an ice sheet to assess the impact of an interactive ice sheet on likely future changes. To account for the resolution difference between the models we downscale both EC-Earth and HIRHAM5 simulations with a simple offline energy balance model (EBM).

  8. CLIVAR Exchanges No. 62: Sea Level Rise, Ocean/Ice Shelf Interactions and Ice Sheets

    SciTech Connect

    Pirani, Anna; Danabasoglu, Gokhan; Griffies, Stephen; Marsland, Simon

    2013-08-01

    This special issue of CLIVAR Exchanges is devoted to presenting a selection of the science contributed by both speakers and poster presenters at the CLIVAR Workshop on Sea Level Rise, Ocean/Ice Shelf Interactions and Ice Sheets at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart, Australia, on 18-20 February 2013. The workshop brought together leading international scientists and early-career researchers from the ocean, ice-sheet, ice-shelf, and sea-level rise modelling and observational communities to explore the state-of-science and emerging pathways for development of the next generation of coupled climate models.

  9. An ice sheet model of reduced complexity for paleoclimate studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neff, Basil; Born, Andreas; Stocker, Thomas F.

    2016-04-01

    IceBern2D is a vertically integrated ice sheet model to investigate the ice distribution on long timescales under different climatic conditions. It is forced by simulated fields of surface temperature and precipitation of the Last Glacial Maximum and present-day climate from a comprehensive climate model. This constant forcing is adjusted to changes in ice elevation. Due to its reduced complexity and computational efficiency, the model is well suited for extensive sensitivity studies and ensemble simulations on extensive temporal and spatial scales. It shows good quantitative agreement with standardized benchmarks on an artificial domain (EISMINT). Present-day and Last Glacial Maximum ice distributions in the Northern Hemisphere are also simulated with good agreement. Glacial ice volume in Eurasia is underestimated due to the lack of ice shelves in our model. The efficiency of the model is utilized by running an ensemble of 400 simulations with perturbed model parameters and two different estimates of the climate at the Last Glacial Maximum. The sensitivity to the imposed climate boundary conditions and the positive degree-day factor β, i.e., the surface mass balance, outweighs the influence of parameters that disturb the flow of ice. This justifies the use of simplified dynamics as a means to achieve computational efficiency for simulations that cover several glacial cycles. Hysteresis simulations over 5 million years illustrate the stability of the simulated ice sheets to variations in surface air temperature.

  10. Enhanced ice sheet growth in Eurasia owing to adjacent ice-dammed lakes.

    PubMed

    Krinner, G; Mangerud, J; Jakobsson, M; Crucifix, M; Ritz, C; Svendsen, J I

    2004-01-29

    Large proglacial lakes cool regional summer climate because of their large heat capacity, and have been shown to modify precipitation through mesoscale atmospheric feedbacks, as in the case of Lake Agassiz. Several large ice-dammed lakes, with a combined area twice that of the Caspian Sea, were formed in northern Eurasia about 90,000 years ago, during the last glacial period when an ice sheet centred over the Barents and Kara seas blocked the large northbound Russian rivers. Here we present high-resolution simulations with an atmospheric general circulation model that explicitly simulates the surface mass balance of the ice sheet. We show that the main influence of the Eurasian proglacial lakes was a significant reduction of ice sheet melting at the southern margin of the Barents-Kara ice sheet through strong regional summer cooling over large parts of Russia. In our simulations, the summer melt reduction clearly outweighs lake-induced decreases in moisture and hence snowfall, such as has been reported earlier for Lake Agassiz. We conclude that the summer cooling mechanism from proglacial lakes accelerated ice sheet growth and delayed ice sheet decay in Eurasia and probably also in North America.

  11. Greenland Ice sheet mass balance from satellite and airborne altimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, S. A.; Bevis, M. G.; Wahr, J. M.; Wouters, B.; Sasgen, I.; van Dam, T. M.; van den Broeke, M. R.; Hanna, E.; Huybrechts, P.; Kjaer, K.; Korsgaard, N. J.; Bjork, A. A.; Kjeldsen, K. K.

    2013-12-01

    Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is dominated by loss in the marginal areas. Dynamic induced ice loss and its associated ice surface lowering is often largest close to the glacier calving front and may vary from rates of tens of meters per years to a few meters per year over relatively short distances. Hence, high spatial resolution data are required to accurately estimate volume changes. Here, we estimate ice volume change rate of the Greenland ice sheet using data from Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) laser altimeter during 2003-2009 and CryoSat-2 data during 2010-2012. To improve the volume change estimate we supplement the ICESat and CryoSat data with altimeter surveys from NASA's Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) during 2003-2012 and NASA's Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) during 2007-2012. The Airborne data are mainly concentrated along the ice margin and therefore significantly improve the estimate of the total volume change. Furthermore, we divide the GrIS into six major drainage basins and provide volume loss estimates during 2003-2006, 2006-2009 and 2009-2012 for each basin and separate between melt induced and dynamic ice loss. In order to separate dynamic ice loss from melt processes, we use SMB values from the Regional Atmospheric Climate Model (RACMO2) and SMB values from a positive degree day runoff retention model (Janssens & Huybrechts 2000, Hanna et al. 2011 JGR, updated for this study). Our results show increasing SMB ice loss over the last decade, while dynamic ice loss increased during 2003-2009, but has since been decreasing. Finally, we assess the estimated mass loss using GPS observations from stations located along the edge of the GrIS and measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite gravity mission. Hanna, E., et al. (2011), Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance 1870 to 2010 based on Twentieth Century Reanalysis, and links with global climate forcing, J. Geophys. Res

  12. Simulating the response of glacial ice-sheets to past abrupt climate changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banderas, Rubén; Álvarez-Solas, Jorge; Robinson, Alexander; Montoya, Marisa

    2016-04-01

    Dansgaard-Oeschger (D/O) events were recurrent glacial abrupt climatic transitions between cold and warm conditions over Greenland with an approximate characteristic time of a thousand years. The uncertainties among the available sea level reconstructions hinder our understanding of the interactions between climate and global ice volume. In addition, only limited highly-resolved and continuous sea level records exist. Thus, the millennial time-scale response of glacial ice-sheets to past abrupt climate changes is not well known. Here, we use a hybrid ice sheet-ice shelf model in order to investigate the response of glacial ice-sheets to the influence of millennial-scale climate variability. An ensemble of simulations is performed by forcing the model with a wide range of time-varying climatologies derived from proxy data and from some of the currently available climate model simulations. The assessment of the resulting suite of transient simulations will contribute to constrain the inadequacies of sea level reconstructions in terms of amplitude and timing and will help to understand the implications of glacial abrupt climate changes in past sea level variability. Furthermore, our experiments could be useful to elucidate the mechanisms that involve the interactions between climate and ice sheets on millennial time scales, including future climate change.

  13. SPICE: Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McMillan, M.; Escola, R.; Roca, M.; Escorihuela, M. J.; Thibaut, P.; Shepherd, A.; Remy, F.; Benveniste, J.; Ambrozio, A.; Restano, M.

    2016-12-01

    Since the launch of ERS-1 in 1991, polar-orbiting satellite radar altimeters have provided a valuable record of ice sheet elevation change, yielding estimates of ice sheet mass imbalance at the scale of individual ice sheet basins. One of the principle challenges associated with radar altimetry comes from the relatively large ground footprint of conventional pulse-limited radars, which limits their capacity to make reliable measurements in areas of complex topographic terrain. In recent years, progress has been made towards improving ground resolution, through the implementation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or Delay-Doppler, techniques. In 2010, the launch of CryoSat-2 by the European Space Agency heralded the start of a new era of SAR altimetry, although full SAR coverage of the polar ice sheets has only been achieved with the launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite in February 2016. Because of the heritage of SAR altimetry provided by CryoSat-2, many SAR altimeter processing techniques have been optimized and evaluated for water and sea ice surfaces only. This leaves several outstanding issues related to the development and evaluation of SAR altimetry for ice sheets, including improvements to Delay-Doppler processing algorithms and SAR altimetry waveform retracking procedures. Here we present results from SPICE (Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets), a 2 year project that focuses on the expected performance of Sentinel-3 SAR altimetry over the Polar ice sheets. The project, which began in September 2015 and is funded by ESA's SEOM (Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions) programme, aims to contribute to the development and understanding of ice sheet SAR altimetry through the emulation of Sentinel-3 data from dedicated CryoSat SAR acquisitions made at the Lake Vostok, Dome C and Spirit sites in East Antarctica, and from reprocessed SARIn data in Greenland. The principle aims of the project are to (1) evaluate and improve the current

  14. SPICE: Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benveniste, Jérôme; Escolà, Roger; Roca, Mònica; Ambrózio, Américo; Restano, Marco; McMillan, Malcolm; Escorihuela, Maria Jose; Shepherd, Andrew; Thibaut, Pierre; Remy, Frederique

    2016-07-01

    Since the launch of ERS-1 in 1991, polar-orbiting satellite radar altimeters have provided a near continuous record of ice sheet elevation change, yielding estimates of ice sheet mass imbalance at the scale of individual ice sheet basins. One of the principle challenges associated with radar altimetry comes from the relatively large ground footprint of conventional pulse-limited radars, which limits their capacity to make reliable measurements in areas of complex topographic terrain. In recent years, progress has been made towards improving ground resolution, through the implementation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), or Delay-Doppler, techniques. In 2010, the launch of CryoSat-2 by the European Space Agency heralded the start of a new era of SAR altimetry, although full SAR coverage of the polar ice sheets will only be achieved with the launch of the first Sentinel-3 satellite in February 2016. Because of the heritage of SAR altimetry provided by CryoSat-2, current SAR altimeter processing techniques have been optimized and evaluated for water and sea ice surfaces. This leaves several outstanding issues related to the development and evaluation of SAR altimetry for ice sheets, including improvements to SAR processing algorithms and SAR altimetry waveform retracking procedures. Here we will present interim results from SPICE (Sentinel-3 Performance Improvement for Ice Sheets), a 2 year project that focuses on the expected performance of Sentinel-3 SAR altimetry over the Polar ice sheets. The project, which began in September 2015 and is funded by ESA's SEOM (Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions) programme, aims to contribute to the development and understanding of ice sheet SAR altimetry through the emulation of Sentinel-3 data from dedicated CryoSat SAR acquisitions made at several sites in Antarctica and Greenland. More specifically, the project aims to (1) evaluate and improve the current Delay-Doppler processing and SAR waveform retracking

  15. A calving law for ice sheet models; Investigating the role of surface melt on dynamics of Greenland outlet glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nick, F. M.; van der Veen, C. J.; Vieli, A.

    2008-12-01

    alving of icebergs accounts for perhaps as much as half the ice transferred from the Greenland Ice Sheet into the surrounding ocean, and virtually all of the ice loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. We have formulated a calving model that can be readily incorporated into time-evolving numerical ice-flow models. Our model is based on downward penetration of water-filled surface crevasses and upward propagation of basal crevasses. A calving event occurs when the depth of the surface crevasse (which increases as melting progresses through the summer) reaches the height of the basal crevasse. Our numerical ice sheet model is able to reproduce observed seasonal changes of Greenland outlet glaciers, such as fluctuations in flow speed and terminus positions. We have applied the model to Helheim Glacier on the east coast, and Petermann Glacier in the northwest. Our model suggests that rapid retreat of the claving front is highly affected by the amplified calving rate due to increasing water level in surface crevasses during warmer summers. Our results show little response to seasonally enhanced basal lubrication from surface melt. This modeling study provides insights into the role of surface and basal hydrology to ice sheet dynamics and on how to incorporate calving in ice sheet models and therefore advances our ability to predict future ice sheet change.

  16. Modelling the Laurentide Ice Sheet using improved ice margin chronologies and glacio-isostatic observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gowan, Evan; Tregoning, Paul; Purcell, Anthony; Lambeck, Kurt

    2013-04-01

    Creating models of the Laurentide ice sheet is challenging, due to the deficiency of chronological constraints and the uneven spatial resolution of data to determine the evolution of the glacio-isostatic response after deglaciation. Previous models relied on uncalibrated radiocarbon constrained margins that proved to have deficiencies in recent studies. Additionally, many recent Laurentide ice sheet models have been developed by incorporating climatic parameters that are poorly resolved for the late glacial period. We present a new ice sheet model by an iterative process of changing basal shear stress values and ice sheet margin location. A particular focus of this study is to determine the thickness and extent of the western Laurentide ice sheet, where there were few well dated observations of glacio-isostatic motion until recently. The volume of an ice sheet during long periods depends mostly on basal shear stress and margin position, which are the main parameters that we vary to fit our model to glacio-isostatic observations. We build our ice model using the assumption of perfectly plastic, steady-state conditions, with variable basal shear stress. Basal shear stress values depend on the surficial geology underlying the ice, and are at a minimum in offshore regions that have soft, deformable sediments, and at a maximum in areas with exposed crystalline bedrock. This approach may not capture dynamic and short lived features of the ice sheet, such as ice streams and stagnant ice, but gives an approximation of average conditions to produce ice volumes that fit geophysical observations. We adjust the margin location when the shear stress conditions alone cannot account for the observed glacio-isostatic response. The constraints on the response include relative sea level benchmarks, sea level highstand positions and proglacial lakes. We repeat the analysis using different rheological profiles to determine the dependence the Earth model has on the estimation of ice

  17. A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance.

    PubMed

    Shepherd, Andrew; Ivins, Erik R; A, Geruo; Barletta, Valentina R; Bentley, Mike J; Bettadpur, Srinivas; Briggs, Kate H; Bromwich, David H; Forsberg, René; Galin, Natalia; Horwath, Martin; Jacobs, Stan; Joughin, Ian; King, Matt A; Lenaerts, Jan T M; Li, Jilu; Ligtenberg, Stefan R M; Luckman, Adrian; Luthcke, Scott B; McMillan, Malcolm; Meister, Rakia; Milne, Glenn; Mouginot, Jeremie; Muir, Alan; Nicolas, Julien P; Paden, John; Payne, Antony J; Pritchard, Hamish; Rignot, Eric; Rott, Helmut; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Scambos, Ted A; Scheuchl, Bernd; Schrama, Ernst J O; Smith, Ben; Sundal, Aud V; van Angelen, Jan H; van de Berg, Willem J; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Vaughan, David G; Velicogna, Isabella; Wahr, John; Whitehouse, Pippa L; Wingham, Duncan J; Yi, Donghui; Young, Duncan; Zwally, H Jay

    2012-11-30

    We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth's polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods--especially in Greenland and West Antarctica--and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by -142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, -65 ± 26, and -20 ± 14 gigatonnes year(-1), respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year(-1) to the rate of global sea-level rise.

  18. The Chernobyl reference horizon ( ) in the Greenland ice sheet

    SciTech Connect

    Dibb, J. )

    1989-09-01

    Published reports of the presence of radioactive debris from the Chernobyl reactor accident in snow on the Greenland ice sheet raised the strong prospect that such debris might constitute a valuable time stratigraphic marker all over the ice sheet. Large volume snow samples to test this possibility were collected from 7 snowpits as part of a wide ranging regional snow chemistry survey conducted during 1987 and 1988. Snow labeled'' with Chernobyl derived radioactivity was detected in all of the pits. However, the total amount of radioactive debris found at the different locations varied over a 20 fold range. The variability in total fallout showed no clear large scale spatial pattern that could be related to the presumed progress of the radioactive plume over Greenland, suggesting that small scale differences in precipitation pattern and reworking of the snow by wind were predominantly responsible for the patchy preservation of the Chernobyl layer'' on the Greenland ice sheet. {copyright} American Geophysical Union 1989

  19. High export of dissolved silica from the Greenland Ice Sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meire, L.; Meire, P.; Struyf, E.; Krawczyk, D. W.; Arendt, K. E.; Yde, J. C.; Juul Pedersen, T.; Hopwood, M. J.; Rysgaard, S.; Meysman, F. J. R.

    2016-09-01

    Silica is an essential element for marine life and plays a key role in the biogeochemistry of the ocean. Glacial activity stimulates rock weathering, generating dissolved silica that is exported to coastal areas along with meltwater. The magnitude of the dissolved silica export from large glacial areas such as the Greenland Ice Sheet is presently poorly quantified and not accounted for in global budgets. Here we present data from two fjord systems adjacent to the Greenland Ice Sheet which reveal a large export of dissolved silica by glacial meltwater relative to other macronutrients. Upscaled to the entire Greenland Ice Sheet, the export of dissolved silica equals 22 ± 10 Gmol Si yr-1. When the silicate-rich meltwater mixes with upwelled deep water, either inside or outside Greenland's fjords, primary production takes place at increased silicate to nitrate ratios. This likely stimulates the growth of diatoms relative to other phytoplankton groups.

  20. A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shepherd, Andrew; Ivins, Erik R.; A, Geruo; Barletta, Valentina R.; Bentley, Mike J.; Bettadpur, Srinivas; Briggs, Kate H.; Bromwich, David H.; Forsberg, René; Galin, Natalia; Horwath, Martin; Jacobs, Stan; Joughin, Ian; King, Matt A.; Lenaerts, Jan T. M.; Li, Jilu; Ligtenberg, Stefan R. M.; Luckman, Adrian; Luthcke, Scott B.; McMillan, Malcolm; Meister, Rakia; Milne, Glenn; Mouginot, Jeremie; Muir, Alan; Nicolas, Julien P.; Paden, John; Payne, Antony J.; Pritchard, Hamish; Rignot, Eric; Rott, Helmut; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Scambos, Ted A.; Scheuchl, Bernd; Schrama, Ernst J. O.; Smith, Ben; Sundal, Aud V.; van Angelen, Jan H.; van de Berg, Willem J.; van den Broeke, Michiel R.; Vaughan, David G.; Velicogna, Isabella; Wahr, John; Whitehouse, Pippa L.; Wingham, Duncan J.; Yi, Donghui; Young, Duncan; Zwally, H. Jay

    2012-11-01

    We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth’s polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods—especially in Greenland and West Antarctica—and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by -142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, -65 ± 26, and -20 ± 14 gigatonnes year-1, respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year-1 to the rate of global sea-level rise.

  1. Younger Dryas interval and outflow from the Laurentide ice sheet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, T.C.; Walker, J.C.G.; Rea, David K.; Lewis, C.F.M.; Shane, L.C.K.; Smith, A.J.

    2000-01-01

    A boxmodel of the Great Lakes is used to estimate meltwater flow into the North Atlantic between 8000 and 14,000 calendar years B.P. Controls on the model include the oxygen isotopic composition of meltwaters and lake waters as measured in the shells of ostracodes. Outflow rates are highest when oxygen isotopic values of the lake waters are most negative, denoting a maximum glacial meltwater component. Flow rates reach maximum values before the onset of the Younger Dryas and after it ends. These maxima appear to be correlative with the major meltwater pulses MWP 1A and 1B. Although the resumption of North Atlantic Deep Water formation may be tied to the reduction in ice sheet melting, neither the onset nor the end of the Younger Dryas, as recorded in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP2) records, appear tied to maxima in meltwater outflow from the Laurentide ice sheet. Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.

  2. A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shepherd, Andrew; Ivins, Erik R.; Geruo, A.; Barletta, Valentia R.; Bentley, Mike J.; Bettadpur, Srinivas; Briggs, Kate H.; Bromwich, David H.; Forsberg, Rene; Galin, Natalia; hide

    2012-01-01

    We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth's polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods-especially in Greenland and West Antarctica-and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by -142 plus or minus 49, +14 plus or minus 43, -65 plus or minus 26, and -20 plus or minus 14 gigatonnes year(sup -1), respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 plus or minus 0.20 millimeter year(sup -1) to the rate of global sea-level rise.

  3. Miocene to recent ice elevation variations from the interior of the West Antarctic ice sheet: Constraints from geologic observations, cosmogenic nuclides and ice sheet modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mukhopadhyay, Sujoy; Ackert, Robert P.; Pope, Allen E.; Pollard, David; DeConto, Robert M.

    2012-07-01

    Observations of long-term West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) behavior can be used to test and constrain dynamic ice sheet models. Long-term observational constraints are however, rare. Here we present the first constraints on long-term (Miocene-Holocene) WAIS elevation from the interior of the ice sheet near the WAIS divide. We use geologic observations and measurements of cosmogenic 21Ne and 10Be in bedrock surfaces to constrain WAIS elevation variations to <160 m above the present-day ice levels since 7 Ma, and <110 m above present-day ice levels since 5.4 Ma. The cosmogenic nuclide data indicate that bedrock surfaces 35 m above the present-day ice levels had near continuous exposure over the past 3.5 Ma, requiring average interior WAIS elevations to have been similar to, or lower than present, since the beginning of the Pliocene warm period. We use a continental ice sheet model to simulate the history of ice cover at our sampling sites and thereby compute the expected concentration of the cosmogenic nuclides. The ice sheet model indicates that during the past 5 Ma interior WAIS elevations of >65 m above present-day ice levels at the Ohio Range occur only rarely during brief ice sheet highstands, consistent with the observed cosmogenic nuclide data. Furthermore, the model's prediction that highstand elevations have increased on average since the Pliocene is in good agreement with the cosmogenic nuclide data that indicate the highest ice elevation over the past 5 Ma was reached during the highstand at 11 ka. Since the simulated cosmogenic nuclide concentrations derived from the model's ice elevation history are in good agreement with our measurements, we suggest that the model's prediction of more frequent collapsed-WAIS states and smaller WAIS volumes during the Pliocene are also correct.

  4. Response of the Antarctic ice sheet to ocean forcing using the POPSICLES coupled ice sheet-ocean model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, D. F.; Asay-Davis, X.; Price, S. F.; Cornford, S. L.; Maltrud, M. E.; Ng, E. G.; Collins, W.

    2014-12-01

    We present the response of the continental Antarctic ice sheet to sub-shelf-melt forcing derived from POPSICLES simulation results covering the full Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Southern Ocean spanning the period 1990 to 2010. Simulations are performed at 0.1 degree (~5 km) ocean resolution and ice sheet resolution as fine as 500 m using adaptive mesh refinement. A comparison of fully-coupled and comparable standalone ice-sheet model results demonstrates the importance of two-way coupling between the ice sheet and the ocean. The POPSICLES model couples the POP2x ocean model, a modified version of the Parallel Ocean Program (Smith and Gent, 2002), and the BISICLES ice-sheet model (Cornford et al., 2012). BISICLES makes use of adaptive mesh refinement to fully resolve dynamically-important regions like grounding lines and employs a momentum balance similar to the vertically-integrated formulation of Schoof and Hindmarsh (2009). Results of BISICLES simulations have compared favorably to comparable simulations with a Stokes momentum balance in both idealized tests like MISMIP3D (Pattyn et al., 2013) and realistic configurations (Favier et al. 2014). POP2x includes sub-ice-shelf circulation using partial top cells (Losch, 2008) and boundary layer physics following Holland and Jenkins (1999), Jenkins (2001), and Jenkins et al. (2010). Standalone POP2x output compares well with standard ice-ocean test cases (e.g., ISOMIP; Losch, 2008) and other continental-scale simulations and melt-rate observations (Kimura et al., 2013; Rignot et al., 2013). A companion presentation, "Present-day circum-Antarctic simulations using the POPSICLES coupled land ice-ocean model" in session C027 describes the ocean-model perspective of this work, while we focus on the response of the ice sheet and on details of the model. The figure shows the BISICLES-computed vertically-integrated ice velocity field about 1 month into a 20-year coupled Antarctic run. Groundling lines are shown in green.

  5. The response of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to ocean warming beneath the Filchner Ronne Ice Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goeller, Sebastian; Timmermann, Ralph; Thoma, Malte

    2015-04-01

    The ice flow at the margins of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is moderated by large ice shelves. Their buttressing effect substantially controls the mass balance of the WAIS and thus its contribution to sea level rise. The stability of these ice shelves results from the balance of mass gain by accumulation and ice flow from the adjacent ice sheet and mass loss by calving and basal melting due to the ocean heat flux. Recent results of ocean circulation models indicate that warm circumpolar water of the Southern Ocean may override the submarine slope front of the Antarctic Continent and boost basal ice shelf melting. In particular, ocean simulations for several of the IPCC's future climate scenarios demonstrate the redirection of a warm coastal current into the Filchner Trough and underneath the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS) within the next decades. In this study, we couple the finite elements ocean circulation model FESOM and the three-dimensional thermomechanical ice flow model RIMBAY to investigate the sensitivity of the ice dynamics within the entire FRIS catchment to simulated future basal shelf melt rates. Our simulations indicate a high sensitivity of the ice dynamics for the Möller and the Institute Ice Stream but only very little response of other ice streams like Rutford, Foundation and Recovery Ice Stream to enhanced basal shelf melting. The grounding line between the Möller and Institute Ice Streams is located on a submarine ridge in front of a deep trough further inland. In this area, basal shelf melting causes a local thinning of the FRIS. The consequent initial retreat of the grounding line continues once it reaches the adjacent reverse-sloped bedrock. We state, that a possible 'point of no return' for a vast grounding line retreat along this steep reverse bedrock slope might have been crossed already even for simulated present-day melt rates, indicating that the WAIS is currently not in equlibrium. Furthermore, our simulations show an

  6. Pan–ice-sheet glacier terminus change in East Antarctica reveals sensitivity of Wilkes Land to sea-ice changes

    PubMed Central

    Miles, Bertie W. J.; Stokes, Chris R.; Jamieson, Stewart S. R.

    2016-01-01

    The dynamics of ocean-terminating outlet glaciers are an important component of ice-sheet mass balance. Using satellite imagery for the past 40 years, we compile an approximately decadal record of outlet-glacier terminus position change around the entire East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) marine margin. We find that most outlet glaciers retreated during the period 1974–1990, before switching to advance in every drainage basin during the two most recent periods, 1990–2000 and 2000–2012. The only exception to this trend was in Wilkes Land, where the majority of glaciers (74%) retreated between 2000 and 2012. We hypothesize that this anomalous retreat is linked to a reduction in sea ice and associated impacts on ocean stratification, which increases the incursion of warm deep water toward glacier termini. Because Wilkes Land overlies a large marine basin, it raises the possibility of a future sea level contribution from this sector of East Antarctica. PMID:27386519

  7. Pan-ice-sheet glacier terminus change in East Antarctica reveals sensitivity of Wilkes Land to sea-ice changes.

    PubMed

    Miles, Bertie W J; Stokes, Chris R; Jamieson, Stewart S R

    2016-05-01

    The dynamics of ocean-terminating outlet glaciers are an important component of ice-sheet mass balance. Using satellite imagery for the past 40 years, we compile an approximately decadal record of outlet-glacier terminus position change around the entire East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) marine margin. We find that most outlet glaciers retreated during the period 1974-1990, before switching to advance in every drainage basin during the two most recent periods, 1990-2000 and 2000-2012. The only exception to this trend was in Wilkes Land, where the majority of glaciers (74%) retreated between 2000 and 2012. We hypothesize that this anomalous retreat is linked to a reduction in sea ice and associated impacts on ocean stratification, which increases the incursion of warm deep water toward glacier termini. Because Wilkes Land overlies a large marine basin, it raises the possibility of a future sea level contribution from this sector of East Antarctica.

  8. Ice-sheet modelling accelerated by graphics cards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brædstrup, Christian Fredborg; Damsgaard, Anders; Egholm, David Lundbek

    2014-11-01

    Studies of glaciers and ice sheets have increased the demand for high performance numerical ice flow models over the past decades. When exploring the highly non-linear dynamics of fast flowing glaciers and ice streams, or when coupling multiple flow processes for ice, water, and sediment, researchers are often forced to use super-computing clusters. As an alternative to conventional high-performance computing hardware, the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) is capable of massively parallel computing while retaining a compact design and low cost. In this study, we present a strategy for accelerating a higher-order ice flow model using a GPU. By applying the newest GPU hardware, we achieve up to 180× speedup compared to a similar but serial CPU implementation. Our results suggest that GPU acceleration is a competitive option for ice-flow modelling when compared to CPU-optimised algorithms parallelised by the OpenMP or Message Passing Interface (MPI) protocols.

  9. Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet at High Elevations.

    PubMed

    Thomas; Akins; Csatho; Fahnestock; Gogineni; Kim; Sonntag

    2000-07-21

    Comparison of ice discharge from higher elevation areas of the entire Greenland Ice Sheet with total snow accumulation gives estimates of ice thickening rates over the past few decades. On average, the region has been in balance, but with thickening of 21 centimeters per year in the southwest and thinning of 30 centimeters per year in the southeast. The north of the ice sheet shows less variability, with average thickening of 2 centimeters per year in the northeast and thinning of about 5 centimeters per year in the northwest. These results agree well with those from repeated altimeter surveys, except in the extreme south, where we find substantially higher rates of both thickening and thinning.

  10. Modelling water flow under glaciers and ice sheets

    PubMed Central

    Flowers, Gwenn E.

    2015-01-01

    Recent observations of dynamic water systems beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have sparked renewed interest in modelling subglacial drainage. The foundations of today's models were laid decades ago, inspired by measurements from mountain glaciers, discovery of the modern ice streams and the study of landscapes evacuated by former ice sheets. Models have progressed from strict adherence to the principles of groundwater flow, to the incorporation of flow ‘elements’ specific to the subglacial environment, to sophisticated two-dimensional representations of interacting distributed and channelized drainage. Although presently in a state of rapid development, subglacial drainage models, when coupled to models of ice flow, are now able to reproduce many of the canonical phenomena that characterize this coupled system. Model calibration remains generally out of reach, whereas widespread application of these models to large problems and real geometries awaits the next level of development. PMID:27547082

  11. Modelling water flow under glaciers and ice sheets.

    PubMed

    Flowers, Gwenn E

    2015-04-08

    Recent observations of dynamic water systems beneath the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have sparked renewed interest in modelling subglacial drainage. The foundations of today's models were laid decades ago, inspired by measurements from mountain glaciers, discovery of the modern ice streams and the study of landscapes evacuated by former ice sheets. Models have progressed from strict adherence to the principles of groundwater flow, to the incorporation of flow 'elements' specific to the subglacial environment, to sophisticated two-dimensional representations of interacting distributed and channelized drainage. Although presently in a state of rapid development, subglacial drainage models, when coupled to models of ice flow, are now able to reproduce many of the canonical phenomena that characterize this coupled system. Model calibration remains generally out of reach, whereas widespread application of these models to large problems and real geometries awaits the next level of development.

  12. Oxygen Isotope Mass-Balance Constraints on Pliocene Sea Level and East Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winnick, M. J.; Caves, J. K.

    2015-12-01

    The mid-Pliocene Warm Period (MPWP, 3.3-2.9 Ma), with reconstructed atmospheric pCO2 of 350-450 ppm, represents a potential analogue for climate change in the near future. Current highly cited estimates place MPWP maximum global mean sea level (GMSL) at 21 ± 10 m above modern, requiring total loss of the Greenland (GIS) and marine West Antarctic Ice Sheets (WAIS) and a substantial loss of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), with only a concurrent 2-3 ºC rise in global temperature. Many estimates of Pliocene GMSL are based on the partitioning of oxygen isotope records from benthic foraminifera (δ18Ob) into changes in deep-sea temperatures and terrestrial ice sheets. These isotopic budgets are underpinned by the assumption that the δ18O of Antarctic ice (δ18Oi) was the same in the Pliocene as it is today, and while the sensitivity of δ18Ob to changing meltwater δ18O has been previously considered, these analyses neglect conservation of 18O/16O in the ocean-ice system. Using well-calibrated δ18O-temperature relationships for Antarctic precipitation along with estimates of Pliocene Antarctic surface temperatures, we argue that the δ18Oi of the Pliocene Antarctic ice sheet was at minimum 1‰-4‰ higher than present. Assuming conservation of 18O/16O in the ocean-ice system, this requires lower Pliocene seawater δ18O (δ18Osw) without a corresponding change in ice sheet mass. This effect alone accounts for 5%-20% of the δ18Ob difference between the MPWP interglacials and the modern. With this amended isotope budget, we suggest that Pliocene GMSL was likely 9-13.5 m and very likely 5-17 m above modern, which suggests the EAIS is less sensitive to radiative forcing than previously inferred from the geologic record.

  13. Quantification of the Greenland ice sheet contribution to Last Interglacial sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stone, E. J.; Lunt, D. J.; Annan, J. D.; Hargreaves, J. C.

    2013-03-01

    During the Last Interglacial period (~ 130-115 thousand years ago) the Arctic climate was warmer than today, and global mean sea level was probably more than 6.6 m higher. However, there are large discrepancies in the estimated contributions to this sea level change from various sources (the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and smaller ice caps). Here, we determine probabilistically the likely contribution of Greenland ice sheet melt to Last Interglacial sea level rise, taking into account ice sheet model parametric uncertainty. We perform an ensemble of 500 Glimmer ice sheet model simulations forced with climatologies from the climate model HadCM3, and constrain the results with palaeodata from Greenland ice cores. Our results suggest a 90% probability that Greenland ice melt contributed at least 0.6 m, but less than 10% probability that it exceeded 3.5 m, a value which is lower than several recent estimates. Many of these previous estimates, however, did not include a full general circulation climate model that can capture atmospheric circulation and precipitation changes in response to changes in insolation forcing and orographic height. Our combined modelling and palaeodata approach suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is less sensitive to orbital forcing than previously thought, and it implicates Antarctic melt as providing a substantial contribution to Last Interglacial sea level rise. Future work should assess additional uncertainty due to inclusion of basal sliding and the direct effect of insolation on surface melt. In addition, the effect of uncertainty arising from climate model structural design should be taken into account by performing a multi-climate-model comparison.

  14. A Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics Model for Ice Sheet and Ice Shelf Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Pan, Wenxiao; Tartakovsky, Alexandre M.; Monaghan, Joseph J.

    2012-02-08

    Mathematical modeling of ice sheets is complicated by the non-linearity of the governing equations and boundary conditions. Standard grid-based methods require complex front tracking techniques and have limited capability to handle large material deformations and abrupt changes in bottom topography. As a consequence, numerical methods are usually restricted to shallow ice sheet and ice shelf approximations. We propose a new smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) model for coupled ice sheet and ice shelf dynamics. SPH is a fully Lagrangian particle method. It is highly scalable and its Lagrangian nature and meshless discretization are well suited to the simulation of free surface flows, large material deformation, and material fragmentation. In this paper SPH is used to study ice sheet/ice shelf behavior, and the dynamics of the grounding line. The steady state position of the grounding line obtained from the SPH simulations is in good agreement with laboratory observations for a wide range of simulated bedrock slopes, and density ratios similar to those of ice and sea water. The numerical accuracy of the SPH algorithm is further verified by simulating the plane shear flow of two immiscible fluids and the propagation of a highly viscous blob of fluid along a horizontal surface. In the experiment, the ice was represented with a viscous newtonian fluid. For consistency, in the described SPH model the ice is also modeled as a viscous newtonian fluid. Typically, ice sheets are modeled as a non-Newtonian fluid, accounting for the changes in the mechanical properties of ice. Implementation of a non-Newtonian rheology in the SPH model is the subject of our ongoing research.

  15. Discussing Progress in Understanding Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herraiz Borreguero, Laura; Mottram, Ruth; Cvijanovic, Ivana

    2010-11-01

    Advanced Climate Dynamics Course 2010: Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions; Lyngen, Norway, 8-19 June 2010; Sea level rise is one of many expected consequences of climate change, with accompanying complex social and economic challenges. Major uncertainties in sea level rise projections relate to the response of ice sheets to sea level rise and the key role that interactions with the ocean may play. Recognizing that probably no comprehensive curriculum currently exists at any single university that covers this novel and interdisciplinary subject, the Advanced Climate Dynamics Courses (ACDC) team brought together a group of 40 international students, postdocs, and lecturers from diverse backgrounds to provide an overview and discussion of state-of-the-art research into ocean-ice sheet interactions and to propose research priorities for the next decade. Among the key issues addressed were small-scale processes near the Antarctic ice shelves and Greenland outlet glaciers. These are fast changing components in the climate system, often related to large-scale forcings (atmospheric teleconnections and oceanic circulation). Progress in understanding and modeling is hampered by the range of scales involved, the lack of observations, and the difficulties in constraining, initializing, and providing adequate boundary conditions for ice sheet and ocean models.

  16. Modeling Abrupt Change in Global Sea Level Arising from Ocean - Ice-Sheet Interaction

    SciTech Connect

    Holland, David M

    2011-09-24

    It is proposed to develop, validate, and apply a coupled ocean ice-sheet model to simulate possible, abrupt future change in global sea level. This research is to be carried out collaboratively between an academic institute and a Department of Energy Laboratory (DOE), namely, the PI and a graduate student at New York University (NYU) and climate model researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The NYU contribution is mainly in the area of incorporating new physical processes into the model, while the LANL efforts are focused on improved numerics and overall model development. NYU and LANL will work together on applying the model to a variety of modeling scenarios of recent past and possible near-future abrupt change to the configuration of the periphery of the major ice sheets. The project's ultimate goal is to provide a robust, accurate prediction of future global sea level change, a feat that no fully-coupled climate model is currently capable of producing. This proposal seeks to advance that ultimate goal by developing, validating, and applying a regional model that can simulate the detailed processes involved in sea-level change due to ocean ice-sheet interaction. Directly modeling ocean ice-sheet processes in a fully-coupled global climate model is not a feasible activity at present given the near-complete absence of development of any such causal mechanism in these models to date.

  17. AMOC projections driven by global warming and Greenland Ice Sheet melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakker, Pepijn; Schmittner, Andreas; Lenaerts, Jan; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Bi, Dave; van den Broeke, Michiel; Hu, Aixue; Beadling, Rebecca Lynn; Marsland, Simon; Mernhild, Sebastian H.; Ohgaito, Rumi; Rodehacke, Christian; Saenko, Oleg; Swingedouw, Didier; Yang, Shuting; Yin, Jianjun

    2016-04-01

    The evolution of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is one of the key uncertainties of future climate projections. State-of-art climate models that took part in the CMIP5 project show that over the 21st century the AMOC might reduce by 20-30% under the intermediate RCP4.5 scenario and by 36-44% under the high end RCP8.5 scenario relative to preindustrial values. However, these projections neglect enhanced meltwater input from the Greenland Ice Sheet and lack a thorough uncertainty assessment. We present results of a community effort to use state-of-the-science climate models to simulate the impact of the partial melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet on the AMOC under future global warming up to the year 2300 (AMOCMIP). A probabilistic uncertainty assessment is presented based on a physics-based AMOC emulator and includes uncertainties in the AMOC's sensitivity to temperature and salinity changes, as well as uncertainties of future global warming, regional temperature amplification and melt rates of the Greenland Ice Sheet. We find that the impact of increased Greenland Ice Sheet melt on the AMOC strength is non-negligible, albeit strongly model dependent. The uncertainty analysis shows that the chance of an collapse of the AMOC is negligible if global temperature change remains below 2°C, but becomes more probable for larger warming.

  18. Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    PubMed

    Rignot, Eric; Kanagaratnam, Pannir

    2006-02-17

    Using satellite radar interferometry observations of Greenland, we detected widespread glacier acceleration below 66 degrees north between 1996 and 2000, which rapidly expanded to 70 degrees north in 2005. Accelerated ice discharge in the west and particularly in the east doubled the ice sheet mass deficit in the last decade from 90 to 220 cubic kilometers per year. As more glaciers accelerate farther north, the contribution of Greenland to sea-level rise will continue to increase.

  19. Characteristics of basal ice and subglacial water at Dome Fuji, Antarctica ice sheet