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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 13, Issue 10, pp 733–744 | Cite as

Modelling the short-term response of the Greenland ice-sheet to global warming

  • R. S. W. van de Wal
  • J. Oerlemans

Abstract.

 A two-dimensional vertically integrated ice flow model has been developed to test the importance of various processes and concepts used for the prediction of the contribution of the Greenland ice-sheet to sea-level rise over the next 350 y (short-term response). The mass balance is modelled by the degree-day method and the energy-balance method. The lithosphere is considered to respond isostatically to a point load and the time evolution of the bedrock follows from a viscous asthenosphere. According to the IPCC-IS92a scenario (with constant aerosols after 1990) the Greenland ice-sheet is likely to cause a global sea level rise of 10.4 cm by 2100 AD. It is shown, however, that the result is sensitive to precise model formulations and that simplifications as used in the sea-level projection in the IPCC-96 report yield less accurate results. Our model results indicate that, on a time scale of a hundred years, including the dynamic response of the ice-sheet yields more mass loss than the fixed response in which changes in geometry are not incorporated. It appears to be important to consider sliding, as well as the fact that climate sensitivity increases for larger perturbations. Variations in predicted sea-level change on a time scale of hundred years depend mostly on the initial state of the ice-sheet. On a time scale of a few hundred years, however, the variability in the predicted melt is dominated by the variability in the climate scenarios.

Keywords

Global Warming Lithosphere Climate Scenario Climate Sensitivity Asthenosphere 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. S. W. van de Wal
    • 1
  • J. Oerlemans
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, The NetherlandsNL

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