Ocean temperature thresholds for Last Interglacial West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse.

Sutter, Johannes, Gierz, Paul, Grosfeld, Klaus, Thoma, Malte and Lohmann, Gerrit (2016) Ocean temperature thresholds for Last Interglacial West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse. Open Access Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (6). pp. 2675-2682. DOI 10.1002/2016GL067818.

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Abstract

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is considered the major contributor to global sea level rise in the Last Interglacial (LIG) and potentially in the future. Exposed fossil reef terraces suggest sea levels in excess of 7 m in the last warm era, of which probably not much more than 2 m are considered to originate from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. We simulate the evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet during the LIG with a 3‐D thermomechanical ice sheet model forced by an atmosphere‐ocean general circulation model (AOGCM). Our results show that high LIG sea levels cannot be reproduced with the atmosphere‐ocean forcing delivered by current AOGCMs. However, when taking reconstructed Southern Ocean temperature anomalies of several degrees, sensitivity studies indicate a Southern Ocean temperature anomaly threshold for total WAIS collapse of 2–3°C, accounting for a sea level rise of 3–4 m during the LIG. Potential future Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics range from a moderate retreat to a complete collapse, depending on rate and amplitude of warming.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: WAIS collapse; Last Interglacial; sea level; Antarctica; paleoclimate; ice sheet modeling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1002/2016GL067818
ISSN: 0094-8276
Projects: PalMod in-kind, PACES, REKLIM
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2018 11:27
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2019 13:30
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/44286

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