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Volume 10, issue 4
The Cryosphere, 10, 1799–1807, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-1799-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 10, 1799–1807, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-1799-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Aug 2016

Research article | 18 Aug 2016

A simple equation for the melt elevation feedback of ice sheets

Anders Levermann and Ricarda Winkelmann

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Allen, M. R., Frame, D. J., Huntingford, C., Jones, C. D., Lowe, J. A., Meinshausen, M., and Meinshausen, N.: Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne, Nature, 458, 1163–1166, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08019, 2009.
Andresen, C. S., Straneo, F., Ribergaard, M. H., Bjørk, A. A., Andersen, T. J., Kuijpers, A., Nørgaard-Pedersen, N., Kjær, K. H., Schjøth, F., Weckström, K., and Ahlstrøm, A. P.: Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century, Nat. Geosci., 5, 37–41, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1349, 2012.
Bamber, J. L., Hardy, R. J., and Joughin, I.: An analysis of balance velocities over the Green land ice sheet and comparison with synthetic aperture radar interferometry, J. Glaciol., 46, 67–74, https://doi.org/10.3189/172756500781833412, 2000.
Box, J. E.: Greenland ice sheet mass balance reconstruction, Part II: Surface mass balance (1840–2010), J. Climate, 26, 6974–6989, https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00518.1, 2013.
Box, J. E. and Steffen, K.: Sublimation on the Greenland Ice Sheet from automated weather station observations, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 106, 33965–33981, 2001.
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Short summary
In recent decades, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been losing mass and has thereby contributed to global sea-level rise. Here we derive the basic equations for the melt elevation feedback that can lead to self-amplifying melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet and ice sheets in general. The theory unifies the results of complex models when the feedback dominates the dynamics and it allows us to estimate the melt time of ice sheets from data in cases where ice dynamic loss can be neglected.
In recent decades, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been losing mass and has thereby contributed to...
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