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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-319
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-319
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 21 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 21 Jan 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal TC and is expected to appear here in due course.

The future sea-level contribution of the Greenland ice sheet: a multi-model ensemble study of ISMIP6

Heiko Goelzer1,2, Sophie Nowicki3, Anthony Payne4, Eric Larour5, Helene Seroussi5, William H. Lipscomb6, Jonathan Gregory7,8, Ayako Abe-Ouchi9, Andy Shepherd10, Erika Simon3, Cecile Agosta11, Patrick Alexander12,13, Andy Aschwanden14, Alice Barthel15, Reinhard Calov16, Christopher Chambers17, Youngmin Choi18, Joshua Cuzzone18, Christophe Dumas11, Tamsin Edwards19, Denis Felikson3, Xavier Fettweis20, Nicholas R. Golledge21, Ralf Greve17, Angelika Humbert22,23, Philippe Huybrechts24, Sebastien Le clec'h24, Victoria Lee4, Gunter Leguy6, Chris Little25, Daniel P. Lowry26, Mathieu Morlighem18, Isabel Nias3,27, Aurelien Quiquet11, Martin Rückamp22, Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel15, Donald Slater28, Robin Smith7, Fiamma Straneo28, Lev Tarasov29, Roderik van de Wal1,30, and Michiel van den Broeke1 Heiko Goelzer et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  • 3Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, USA
  • 4Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 5Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 6Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 7National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 8Met Office, Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 9Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-8564, Japan
  • 10School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 11Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 12Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, USA
  • 13NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York,NY, USA
  • 14Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
  • 15Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
  • 16Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 17Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • 18Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine, CA, USA
  • 19Department of Geography, King’s College London, UK
  • 20Laboratory of Climatology, Department of Geography, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  • 21Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • 22Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar-und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 23University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 24Earth System Science & Departement Geografie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  • 25Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts, USA
  • 26GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • 27Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 28Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • 29Dept of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
  • 30Geosciences, Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. The Greenland ice sheet is one of the largest contributors to global-mean sea-level rise today and is expected to continue to lose mass as the Arctic continues to warm. The two predominant mass loss mechanisms are increased surface meltwater runoff and mass loss associated with the retreat of marine-terminating outlet glaciers. In this paper we use a large ensemble of Greenland ice sheet models forced by output from a representative subset of CMIP5 global climate models to project ice sheet changes and sea-level rise contributions over the 21st century. The simulations are part of the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6). We estimate the sea-level contribution together with uncertainties due to future climate forcing, ice sheet model formulations and ocean forcing for the two greenhouse gas concentration scenarios RCP8.5 and RCP2.6. The results indicate that the Greenland ice sheet will continue to lose mass in both scenarios until 2100 with contributions of 89 ± 51 mm and 31 ± 16 mm to sea-level rise for RCP8.5 and RCP2.6, respectively. The largest mass loss is expected from the southwest of Greenland, which is governed by surface mass balance changes, continuing what is already observed today. Because the contributions are calculated against a unforced control experiment, these numbers do not include any committed mass loss, i.e. mass loss that would occur over the coming century if the climate forcing remained constant. Under RCP8.5 forcing, ice sheet model uncertainty explains an ensemble spread of 40 mm, while climate model uncertainty and ocean forcing uncertainty account for a spread of 36 mm and 19 mm, respectively. Apart from those formally derived uncertainty ranges, the largest gap in our knowledge is about the physical understanding and implementation of the calving process, i.e. the interaction of the ice sheet with the ocean.

Heiko Goelzer et al.

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Heiko Goelzer et al.

Heiko Goelzer et al.

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Short summary
In this paper we use a large ensemble of Greenland ice sheet models forced by six different global climate models to project ice sheet changes and sea-level rise contributions over the 21st century. The results for two different greenhouse gas concentration scenarios indicate that the Greenland ice sheet will continue to lose mass until 2100 with contributions to sea-level rise of 89 ± 51 mm and 31 ± 16 mm for the high (RCP8.5) and low (RCP2.6) scenario, respectively.
In this paper we use a large ensemble of Greenland ice sheet models forced by six different...
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