Greenland Ice Sheet contribution to sea-level rise from a new-generation ice-sheet model
1UJF – Grenoble 1/CNRS, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE) UMR 5183, Grenoble, 38041, France
2Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France
3Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
4UJF – Grenoble 1/INRIA, Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann (LJK), Grenoble, 38041, France
5CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd, Espoo, Finland
6British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Madingley Road, Cambridge, UK
Abstract. Over the last two decades, the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has been losing mass at an increasing rate, enhancing its contribution to sea-level rise. The recent increases in ice loss appear to be due to changes in both the surface mass balance of the ice sheet and ice discharge (ice flux to the ocean). Rapid ice flow directly affects the discharge, but also alters ice-sheet geometry and so affects climate and surface mass balance. The most usual ice-sheet models only represent rapid ice flow in an approximate fashion and, as a consequence, have never explicitly addressed the role of ice discharge on the total GrIS mass balance, especially at the scale of individual outlet glaciers. Here, we present a new-generation prognostic ice-sheet model which reproduces the current patterns of rapid ice flow. This requires three essential developments: the complete solution of the full system of equations governing ice deformation; an unstructured mesh to usefully resolve outlet glaciers and the use of inverse methods to better constrain poorly known parameters using observations. The modelled ice discharge is in good agreement with observations on the continental scale and for individual outlets. By conducting perturbation experiments, we investigate how current ice loss will endure over the next century. Although we find that increasing ablation tends to reduce outflow and on its own has a stabilising effect, if destabilisation processes maintain themselves over time, current increases in the rate of ice loss are likely to continue.