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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-71
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-71
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 May 2019

Research article | 16 May 2019

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

Glacial cycles simulation of the Antarctic Ice Sheet with PISM – Part 1: Boundary conditions and climatic forcing

Torsten Albrecht1, Ricarda Winkelmann1,2, and Anders Levermann1,2,3 Torsten Albrecht et al.
  • 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Member of the Leibniz Association, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, USA

Abstract. Simulations of the glacial-interglacial history of the Antarctic Ice Sheet provide insights into dynamic threshold behavior and estimates of the ice sheet’s contributions to global sea-level changes, for both the past, present and future. However, boundary conditions are weakly constrained, in particular, at the interface of the ice-sheet and the bedrock. Also climatic forcing covering the last glacial cycles is uncertain as it is based on sparse proxy data.

We use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) to investigate the dynamic effects of different choices of input data, e.g. for modern basal heat flux or reconstructions of past changes of sea-level and surface temperature. As computational resources are limited, glacial-cycle simulations are performed using a comparably coarse model grid of 16 km and various parameterizations, e.g. for basal sliding, iceberg calving or for past variations of precipitation and ocean temperatures. In this study we evaluate the model's transient sensitivity to corresponding parameter choices and to different boundary conditions over the last two glacial cycles. It hence serves as a cookbook for the growing community of PISM users. We identify relevant model parameters and motivate plausible parameter ranges for a Large Ensemble analysis, which is described in a companion paper.

Torsten Albrecht et al.
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Reference PISM simulation of the Antarctic Ice Sheet over the past 210 kyr T. Albrecht https://doi.org/10.5446/41779

Torsten Albrecht et al.
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Short summary
During the last glacial cycles the Antarctic Ice Sheet experienced alternating climatic conditions and varying sea-level history. In response, dynamic changes in ice sheet volume and ice-covered area occurred implying feedbacks on the global sea-level. We ran model simulations of the Antarctic Ice Sheet with PISM over the last two glacial cycles to evaluate the model's sensitivity to different choices of boundary conditions and parameters, in order to gain more confidence for future projections.
During the last glacial cycles the Antarctic Ice Sheet experienced alternating climatic...
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