|The influence of continental shelf bathymetry on Antarctic Ice Sheet response to climate forcing|
|investigators:||P. Bart, D. Mullally, and N. Golledge|
|journal:||Global and Planetary Change|
Depth of water on the Antarctic continental shelf is one key factor determining the maximum possible contribution of ice shelf processes (calving and sub-shelf melting/freezing) to ice-sheet mass balance. This paper uses PISM to investigate how shelf-depth changes through geologic time might have affected Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) dynamics. Over-deepened, shallow, and intermediate versions of BEDMAP2 bathymetry were combined with unmodified land elevations. For climate forcing similiar to the last glacial cycle, a polar AIS surrounded by shallow and intermediate bathymetries experiences rapid grounding-line advance early during the transition from interglacial to glacial conditions. The corresponding increase in mass is primarily a result of lower calving fluxes from smaller-area ice shelves. In contrast, the currently over-deepened bathymetry in the same forcing generates the expected gradual advance of grounding lines.
The 4000 square km ice field in Southeast Alaska is well-known and accessible since its outlets are in the suburbs of the Alaska state capital, Juneau. But climate data for the area are sparse.
Those model runs that agreed well with observations for 1971 to 2010 generated volume and area losses of more than half by 2099. While co-author Regine Hock (UAF) is quoted as saying “The massive icefield that feeds Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier may be gone by 2200 if warming trend predictions hold true,”, the authors emphasize that spatially-distributed mass balance measurements and improved climate projections that resolve the local temperature and precipitation patterns are essential to solidifying these predictions.
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PISM is jointly developed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). For more about the team see the UAF Developers and PIK Developers pages.
UAF developers, who are in the Glaciers Group at the GI, are supported by NASA's Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction and Cryospheric Sciences Programs (grants NAG5-11371, NNX09AJ38C, NNX13AM16G, NNX13AK27G) and by the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center.