Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-251
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-251

  14 Nov 2019

14 Nov 2019

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Sensitivity of the Greenland mass and energy balance to uncertainties in key model parameters

Tobias Zolles1,2 and Andreas Born1,2 Tobias Zolles and Andreas Born
  • 1Department for Earth science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. We investigate the sensitivity of a glacier surface mass and energy balance model using a variance based analysis, for two distinct periods of the last glacial cycle: present day climate and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The results can be summarized in three major findings: The sensitivity towards individual model parameters and parameterizations is neither invariant in space nor in time. The model is most sensitive to uncertainty related to down-welling long-wave radiation. Turbulent latent heat flux has a sizable contribution to the surface mass balance uncertainty in central Greenland today and over the entire ice sheet during the cold climate of the LGM, in spite of its low impact on the overall surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet in modern climate. We conclude that quantifying the model sensitivity is very helpful for the subsequent tuning of free model parameters, because it clarifies the relative importance of individual parameters and highlights interactions between them that need to be considered.

Tobias Zolles and Andreas Born

 
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Tobias Zolles and Andreas Born

Tobias Zolles and Andreas Born

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Short summary
We investigate the sensitivity of a glacier surface mass and energy balance model of the Greenland ice-sheets for the cold period of the last glacial maximum as well as present day climate. The results show that the model sensitivity changes with climate. While for present day simulations inclusions of sublimation and hoar formation are of minor importance, they cannot be neglected during the LGM. To simulate the surface mass balance over long time scales a water vapour scheme is necessary.