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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 22 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

ISMIP6 Antarctica: a multi-model ensemble of the Antarctic ice sheet evolution over the 21st century

Helene Seroussi1, Sophie Nowicki2, Antony J. Payne3, Heiko Goelzer4,5, William H. Lipscomb6, Ayako Abe Ouchi7, Cecile Agosta8, Torsten Albrecht9, Xylar Asay-Davis10, Alice Barthel10, Reinhard Calov9, Richard Cullather2, Christophe Dumas8, Rupert Gladstone11, Nicholas Golledge12, Jonathan M. Gregory13,14, Ralf Greve15, Tore Hatterman16,17, Matthew J. Hoffman10, Angelika Humbert18,19, Philippe Huybrechts20, Nicolas C. Jourdain21, Thomas Kleiner18, Eric Larour1, Gunter R. Leguy6, Daniel P. Lowry22, Chistopher M. Little23, Mathieu Morlighem24, Frank Pattyn5, Tyler Pelle24, Stephen F. Price10, Aurélien Quiquet8, Ronja Reese9, Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel1, Andrew Shepherd25, Erika Simon2, Robin S. Smith13, Fiammetta Straneo26, Sainan Sun5, Luke D. Trusel27, Jonas Van Breedam19, Roderik S. W. van de Wal4,28, Ricarda Winkelmann9,29, Chen Zhao30, Tong Zhang10, and Thomas Zwinger31 Helene Seroussi et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3University of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 4Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • 5Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  • 6Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 7University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 8Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement, LSCE-IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, France
  • 9Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Member of the Leibniz Association, P.O. Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
  • 10Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, USA
  • 11Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland
  • 12Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • 13National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, United Kingdom
  • 14Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 15Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • 16Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
  • 17Energy and Climate Group, Department of Physics and Technology, The Arctic University – University of Tromsø, Norway
  • 18Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 19Department of Geoscience, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 20Earth System Science and Departement Geografie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  • 21Univ. Grenoble Alpes/CNRS/IRD/G-INP, Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, France
  • 22GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • 23Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts, USA
  • 24Department of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 25University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 26Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • 27Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • 28Geosciences, Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 29University of Potsdam, Institute of Physics and Astronomy, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
  • 30University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • 31CSC-IT Center for Science, Espoo, Finland

Abstract. Ice flow models of the Antarctic ice sheet are commonly used to simulate its future evolution in response to different climate scenarios and inform on the mass loss that would contribute to future sea level rise. However, there is currently no consensus on estimated the future mass balance of the ice sheet, primarily because of differences in the representation of physical processes and the forcings employed. This study presents results from 18 simulations from 15 international groups focusing on the evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet during the period 2015–2100, forced with different scenarios from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) representative of the spread in climate model results. The contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet in response to increased warming during this period varies between −7.8 and 30.0 cm of Sea Level Equivalent (SLE). The evolution of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet varies widely among models, with an overall mass loss up to 21.0 cm SLE in response to changes in oceanic conditions. East Antarctica mass change varies between −6.5 and 16.5 cm SLE, with a significant increase in surface mass balance outweighing the increased ice discharge under most RCP 8.5 scenario forcings. The inclusion of ice shelf collapse, here assumed to be caused by large amounts of liquid water ponding at the surface of ice shelves, yields an additional mass loss of 8 mm compared to simulations without ice shelf collapse. The largest sources of uncertainty come from the ocean-induced melt rates, the calibration of these melt rates based on oceanic conditions taken outside of ice shelf cavities and the ice sheet dynamic response to these oceanic changes. Results under RCP 2.6 scenario based on two CMIP5 AOGCMs show an overall mass loss of 10 mm SLE compared to simulations done under present-day conditions, with limited mass gain in East Antarctica.

Helene Seroussi et al.

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Helene Seroussi et al.

Helene Seroussi et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Antarctic ice sheet has been losing mass over at least the past three decades in response to changes in atmospheric and oceanic conditions. This study presents an ensemble of model simulations of the Antarctic evolution over the 2015–2100 period based on various ice sheet models, climate forcings and emission scenarios. Results suggest that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will continue losing large amount of ice, while the East Antarctic ice sheet could experience increased snow accumulation.
The Antarctic ice sheet has been losing mass over at least the past three decades in response to...