Integration of Passive Tracers in a Three-Dimensional Ice Sheet Model
Components of the climate system, such as ice sheets and marine sediments serve as invaluable archives, which can be tapped into, to reconstruct paleoclimate conditions. The relative abundance of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in ice cores is a proxy for past local temperature evolution. However the translation of these proxies into temperature is not straightforward. Complex interdependencies in the climate system can hide or override the local climate signal at which the ice core was drilled. Using 3D ice sheet modelling in concert with passive tracer advection one can simulate the isotopic distribution in ice sheets and compare them to ice core data. Combining this method in a coupled climate model environment, containing atmosphere and ocean components, one can theoretically simulate the isotopic cycle from the source to the actual ice record. Such an approach would greatly support the interpretation of proxy data whilst constraining the output of 3D ice sheet models (ISMs). We present the implementation of passive tracer advection in our 3D ISM RIMBAY (Thoma et al. in Geosci Model Dev 1:1–21, 2014, Goeller et al. in Cryosphere 7:1095–1106, 2014) and asses the potential of the method to reproduce chronologies of the polar ice sheets.
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