A model study of the effect of climate and sea-level change on the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from the Last Glacial Maximum to 2100

Abstract

Due to a scarcity of observations and its long memory of uncertain past climate, the Antarctic Ice Sheet remains a largely unknown factor in the prediction of global sea level change. As the history of the ice sheet plays a key role in its future evolution, in this study we model the Antarctic Ice Sheet from the Last Glacial Maximum (21 kyr ago) until the year 2100 with the ice-dynamical model ANICE. We force the model with different temperature, surface mass balance and sea-level records to investigate the importance of these different aspects for the evolution of the ice sheet. Additionally, we compare the model output from 21 kyr ago until the present with observations to assess model performance in simulating the total grounded ice volume and the evolution of different regions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Although there are some clear limitations of the model, we conclude that sea-level change has driven the deglaciation of the ice sheet, whereas future temperature change and the history of the ice sheet are the primary cause of changes in ice volume in the future. We estimate the change in grounded ice volume between its maximum (around 15 kyr ago) and the present-day to be between 8.4 and 12.5 m sea-level equivalent and the contribution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to the global mean sea level in 2100, with respect to 2000, to be −22 to 63 mm.

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Acknowledgments

The figures in this paper were produced with NCL (UCAR/NCAR/CISL/VETS 2013). We thank SURFsara (www.surfsara.nl) for the support in using the Cartesius Compute Cluster. We also appreciate the suggestions and comments by two anonymous reviewers, which led us to improvements of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to M. N. A. Maris.

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Maris, M.N.A., van Wessem, J.M., van de Berg, W.J. et al. A model study of the effect of climate and sea-level change on the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet from the Last Glacial Maximum to 2100. Clim Dyn 45, 837–851 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-014-2317-z

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Keywords

  • Ice sheet modelling
  • Last Glacial Maximum
  • Climate change
  • Sea-level change
  • Model validation