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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-209
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-209
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: brief communication 23 Sep 2019

Submitted as: brief communication | 23 Sep 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Brief communication: CESM2 climate forcing (1950–2014) yields realistic Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance

Brice Noël1, Leonardus van Kampenhout1, Willem Jan van de Berg1, Jan T. M. Lenaerts2, Bert Wouters1,3, and Michiel R. van den Broeke1 Brice Noël et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research (IMAU), Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder CO, USA
  • 3Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

Abstract. We present a reconstruction of historical (1950–2014) surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) using a high-resolution regional climate model (RACMO2; ~ 11 km) to dynamically downscale the climate of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2; ~ 111 km). After further statistical downscaling to 1 km spatial resolution, evaluation using in situ SMB measurements and remotely sensed GrIS mass change shows good agreement, including the recently observed acceleration in surface mass loss (2003–2014). Comparison with an ensemble of eight previously conducted RACMO2 simulations forced by climate reanalysis demonstrates that the current product accurately reproduces the long term average and inter-annual variability of individual SMB components, and captures the recent increase in meltwater runoff that accelerated GrIS mass loss. This means that, for the first time, an Earth System Model (CESM2), without assimilating observations, can be used to reconstruct historical GrIS SMB and the mass loss acceleration that started in the 1990s. This paves the way for attribution studies of future GrIS mass loss projections and contribution to sea level rise.

Brice Noël et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Brice Noël et al.
Brice Noël et al.
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Short summary
We present a reconstruction of historical (1950–2014) surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet using the Community Earth System Model (CESM2; ~ 111 km) to force a high-resolution regional climate model (RACMO2; ~ 11 km), that is further refined to 1 km spatial resolution. For the first time, an Earth System Model based product, assimilating no observations, can reconstruct realistic historical ice sheet surface mass balance as well as the mass loss acceleration that started in the 1990s.
We present a reconstruction of historical (1950–2014) surface mass balance of the Greenland ice...
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