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Impact of transient increases in atmospheric CO2 on the accumulation and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet

  • Siobhan P. O’Farrell (a1), John L. McGregor (a1), Leon D. Rotstayn (a2), William F. Budd (a2), Christopher Zweck (a2) and Warner Roland (a2)...

Abstract

The response of the Antarctic ice sheet to climate change over the next 500 years is calculated using the output of a transient-coupled ocean-atmosphere simulation assuming the atmospheric CO2 value increases up to three times present levels. The main effects on the ice sheet on this time-scale include increasing rates of accumulation, minimal surface melting, and basal melting of ice shelves. A semi-Lagrangian transport scheme for moisture was used to improve the model’s ability to represent realistic rates of accumulation under present-day conditions, and thereby increase confidence in the anomalies calculated under a warmer climate. The response of the Antarctic ice sheet to the warming is increased accumulation inland, offset by loss from basal melting from the floating ice, and increased ice flow near the grounding line. The preliminary results of this study show that the change to the ice-sheet balance for the transient-coupled model forcing amounted to a minimal sea-level contribution in the next century, but a net positive sea-level rise of 0.21 m by 500 years. This new result supercedes earlier results that showed the Antarctic ice sheet made a net negative contribution to sea-level rise over the next century. However, the amplitude of the sea-level rise is still dominated In the much larger contributions expected from thermal expansion of the ocean of 0.25 m for 100 years and 1.00 m for 500 years.

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References

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