Simulation of the evolution and dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet in past and future climates

Ice modelling

The Antarctic ice sheet is by far the largest single land ice body on the present-day Earth, with a total ice volume of 24.7 x 10^6 km^3 and in addition 0.7 x 10^6 km^3 of the attached ice shelves (Ross Ice Shelf, Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, Amery Ice Shelf and others). This corresponds to a sea level equivalent of about 56.6 m (Lemke et al. 2007, in IPCC AR4). Recent results indicate that the Antarctic ice sheet shows a surprisingly strong reaction on global warming (Bindoff et al. 2007, in IPCC AR4). The main contribution seems to be from West Antarctica, which goes along with an observed speed-up of ice streams and outlet glaciers like Pine Island Glacier.

This project aimed at investigating the evolution and dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet in changing climates in the past (glacial-interglacial cycles) and future (global warming scenarios). On the operational side, a key element was to develop the ice sheet model SICOPOLIS into a high-resolution model for the Antarctic ice sheet which treats the grounded ice sheet, the ice shelves, the grounding lines and the calving fronts in a physically adequate, state-of-the-art fashion. Key scientific questions to be addressed with this integrated model were: (I.) What is the contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to past sea level changes over glacial-interglacial cycles? (II.) What is the contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to future sea level changes under global warming conditions? (III.) Can ice-dynamic processes lead to accelerated decay of the Antarctic ice sheet in the next decades and centuries? (IV.) Is there any evidence for instabilities of the West Antarctic ice sheet, triggered either (a) by natural climate variability in the past or (b) by global warming in the future? Supplementary simulations for the Greenland ice sheet were also carried out. Results served as input for the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report (AR5).

One doctoral thesis (Tatsuru Sato) was completed at Hokkaido University within this project.
 

Project members

Principal investigator

Dr. Ralf Greve
Professor
Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Co-investigators (kenkyû-buntansha):

Dr. Ayako Abe-Ouchi
Associate Professor
Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
University of Tokyo, Japan

Dr. Shin Sugiyama
Lecturer
Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Co-investigators (renkei-kenkyûsha):

Dr. Shuji Fujita
Associate Professor
National Institute of Polar Research
Tokyo, Japan

Dr. Hideaki Motoyama
Professor
National Institute of Polar Research
Tokyo, Japan

Dr. Fuyuki Saito
Postdoctoral Researcher
JAMSTEC
Yokohama, Japan

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Hakime Seddik
Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Research collaborators

Dr. Olivier Gagliardini
Laboratory of Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics, CNRS
Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France

Prof. Angelika Humbert
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Bremerhaven, Germany

Dr. Nina Kirchner
Bert Bolin Centre for Climate Research
Stockholm University, Sweden

Dr. Thomas Zwinger
CSC - IT Center for Science
Espoo, Finland

Project assistant

Ms. Ayako Kakugo
Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
   (from April 2013)

Ms. Eriko Shirasawa
Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
   (June 2010 - March 2013)

Students

Mr. Tatsuru Sato
Doctoral student
Graduate School of Environmental Science and
Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
   (April 2009 - June 2012)
 

Research area

Antarctic ice sheet ~ 63-90°S, 0-360°E
Greenland ice sheet ~ 60-82°N, 20-70°W

Publications and presentations

Download PDF.
 

Research funding organisations

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Project type: Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A).
Project number: 22244058.
Funding period: April 2010 - March 2014.

Institute of Low Temperature Science (ILTS).

Project type: ILTS Research Fund (Category 2).
Funding period: April 2009 - March 2010.
 

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Last modified: 2014-08-31