Simulation of the future sea level contribution of Greenland with a new glacial system model

R. Calov, S. Beyer, R. Greve, J. Beckmann, M. Willeit, T. Kleiner, M. Rückamp, A. Humbert and A. Ganopolski


We introduce the coupled model of the Greenland glacial system IGLOO 1.0, including the polythermal ice sheet model SICOPOLIS (version 3.3) with hybrid dynamics, the model of basal hydrology HYDRO and a parameterization of submarine melt for marine-terminated outlet glaciers. Aim of this glacial system model is to gain a better understanding of the processes important for the future contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea level rise under future climate change scenarios. The ice sheet is initialized via a relaxation towards observed surface elevation, imposing the palaeo-surface temperature over the last glacial cycle. As a present-day reference, we use the 1961-1990 standard climatology derived from simulations of the regional atmosphere model MAR with ERA reanalysis boundary conditions. For the palaeo-part of the spin-up, we add the temperature anomaly derived from the GRIP ice core to the years 1961-1990 average surface temperature field. For our projections, we apply surface temperature and surface mass balance anomalies derived from RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios created by MAR with boundary conditions from simulations with three CMIP5 models. The hybrid ice sheet model is fully coupled with the model of basal hydrology. With this model and the MAR scenarios, we perform simulations to estimate the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to future sea level rise until the end of the 21st and 23rd centuries. Further on, the impact of elevation-surface mass balance feedback, introduced via the MAR data, on future sea level rise is inspected. In our projections, we found the Greenland ice sheet to contribute to global sea level rise between 1.9 and 13.0 cm until the year 2100 and between 3.5 and 76.4 cm until the year 2300, including our simulated additional sea level rise due to elevation-surface mass balance feedback. Translated into additional sea level rise, the strength of this feedback in the year 2100 varies from 0.4 to 1.7 cm, and in the year 2300 it ranges from 1.7 to 21.8 cm. Additionally, taking Helheim and Store Glaciers as examples, we investigate the role of ocean warming and surface runoff change for the melting of outlet glaciers. It shows that ocean temperature and subglacial discharge are about equally important for the melting of the examined outlet glaciers.

The Cryosphere (submitted). The Cryosphere Discussions, doi: 10.5194/tc-2018-23 (2018).

Last modified: 2018-03-21