Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-355
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-355

  17 Dec 2020

17 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Modeling the Greenland englacial stratigraphy

Andreas Born1,2 and Alexander Robinson3,4,5 Andreas Born and Alexander Robinson
  • 1Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 2Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 3Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
  • 4Geosciences Institute, CSIC-UCM, Madrid, Spain
  • 5Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Radar reflections from the interior of the Greenland ice sheet contain a comprehensive archive of past accumulation rates and ice dynamics. Combining this data with dynamic ice sheet models may greatly aid model calibration, improve past and future sea level estimates, and enable insights into past ice sheet dynamics that neither models nor data could achieve alone. Unfortunately, simulating the continental-scale ice sheet stratigraphy represents a major challenge for current ice sheet models. In this study, we present the first three-dimensional ice sheet model that explicitly simulates the Greenland englacial stratigraphy. Individual layers of accumulation are represented on a grid whose vertical axis is time so that they do not exchange mass with each other as the flow of ice deforms them. This isochronal advection scheme is independent from the ice dynamics and only requires modest input data from a host thermomechanical ice-sheet model, making it easy to transfer to a range of models. Using an ensemble of simulations, we show that direct comparison with the dated radiostratigraphy data yields notably more accurate results than selecting simulations based on total ice thickness. We show that the isochronal scheme produces a more reliable simulation of the englacial age profile than traditional age tracers. The interpretation of ice dynamics at different times is possible but limited by uncertainties in the upper and lower boundaries conditions, namely temporal variations in surface mass balance and basal friction.

Andreas Born and Alexander Robinson

 
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Andreas Born and Alexander Robinson

Andreas Born and Alexander Robinson

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