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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-2019-7
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-7
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Jan 2019

Research article | 29 Jan 2019

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

Simulated retreat of Jakobshavn Isbræ during the 21st century

Xiaoran Guo1, Liyun Zhao1, Rupert Gladstone2, Sainan Sun3, and John C. Moore1,2,4 Xiaoran Guo et al.
  • 1College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • 2Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
  • 3Laboratoire de Glaciologie, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  • 4CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Abstract. The early in the 21st century retreat of Jakobshavn Isbræ, one of Greenland's largest outlet glaciers, into its over-deepened bedrock trough was accompanied by acceleration to unprecedented ice-stream speeds. Such dramatic changes suggested the possibility of substantial mass loss over the rest of this century. Using a three-dimensional ice-sheet model with parameterizations to represent the effects of ice mélange buttressing, crevasse-depth-based calving and submarine melting, we can reproduce its recent evolution. The model can accurately replicate its inter-annual variations in grounding line and terminus position, including new modes of seasonal fluctuations that emerged after arriving at the over-deepened basin and the disappearance of a persistent floating ice shelf. The shear margin induced decreases in ice viscosity we simulate are particularly important in reproducing the large observed inter-annual changes in terminus velocity. We use this model to project Jakobshavn's evolution over this century when forced by the IPCC RCP4.5 climate scenario and simulated by ocean temperatures from 7 Earth System Models along with surface runoff derived from RACMO. In our simulations, Jakobshavn's grounding line continues to retreat ~ 18.5 km by the end of this century with total mass loss of ~ 2030 Gt (5.6 mm sea-level-rise equivalent). Despite the relative success of the model in simulating the recent behavior of the glacier, the model does not simulate winter calving events that have become relatively more important.

Xiaoran Guo et al.
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