Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-47
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Influence of temperature fluctuations on equilibrium ice sheet volume
Troels Bøgeholm Mikkelsen, Aslak Grinsted, and Peter Ditlevsen Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, Juliane Maries Vej 30, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
Abstract. Forecasting the future sea level relies on accurate modeling of the response of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to changing temperatures. We show why the steady state of an ice sheet is biased toward larger size if the interannual weather generated fluctuations in temperature are not taken into account in numerical modeling of the ice sheet. We illustrate this in a simple ice sheet model. This bias could, if not taken into account, imply that the risk of collapse in a given climate change scenario is underestimated. We estimate that the effect of temperature variability on the surface mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet in recent ensemble forecasting should be adjusted downward by approximately 13 percent of the present day observed value, if assuming a 2 degree warming. Many predicted scenarios of the future climate show an increased variability in temperature over much of the Earth. In light of our findings it is important to gauge the extent to which this increased variability will further influence the mass balance of the ice sheets.

Citation: Mikkelsen, T. B., Grinsted, A., and Ditlevsen, P.: Influence of temperature fluctuations on equilibrium ice sheet volume, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-47, in review, 2017.
Troels Bøgeholm Mikkelsen et al.
Troels Bøgeholm Mikkelsen et al.
Troels Bøgeholm Mikkelsen et al.

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Short summary
The atmospheric temperature increase poses a real risk of ice sheets collapsing. We show that this risk might have been underestimated since variations in temperature will move the ice sheets to the tipping point of destability. We show this by using a simple computer model of a large ice sheet and investigate what happens if the temperature varies from year to year. The total volume of the ice sheet becomes lower because a cold year followed by an equally warm year does not cancel out.
The atmospheric temperature increase poses a real risk of ice sheets collapsing. We show that...
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