Greenland ice sheet climate disequilibrium and committed sea-level rise

Jason E. Box*, Alun Hubbard, David B. Bahr, William T. Colgan, Xavier Fettweis, Kenneth D. Mankoff, Adrien Wehrlé, Brice Noël, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Bert Wouters, Anders A. Bjørk, Robert S. Fausto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet is one of the largest sources of contemporary sea-level rise (SLR). While process-based models place timescales on Greenland’s deglaciation, their confidence is obscured by model shortcomings including imprecise atmospheric and oceanic couplings. Here, we present a complementary approach resolving ice sheet disequilibrium with climate constrained by satellite-derived bare-ice extent, tidewater sector ice flow discharge and surface mass balance data. We find that Greenland ice imbalance with the recent (2000–2019) climate commits at least 274 ± 68 mm SLR from 59 ± 15 × 103 km2 ice retreat, equivalent to 3.3 ± 0.9% volume loss, regardless of twenty-first-century climate pathways. This is a result of increasing mass turnover from precipitation, ice flow discharge and meltwater run-off. The high-melt year of 2012 applied in perpetuity yields an ice loss commitment of 782 ± 135 mm SLR, serving as an ominous prognosis for Greenland’s trajectory through a twenty-first century of warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-813
Number of pages6
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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