The land-ice contribution to 21st-century dynamic sea level rise

T. Howard*, J. Ridley, A. K. Pardaens, R. T. W. L. Hurkmans, A. J. Payne, R. H. Giesen, J. A. Lowe, J. L. Bamber, T. L. Edwards, J. Oerlemans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Climate change has the potential to influence global mean sea level through a number of processes including (but not limited to) thermal expansion of the oceans and enhanced land ice melt. In addition to their contribution to global mean sea level change, these two processes (among others) lead to local departures from the global mean sea level change, through a number of mechanisms including the effect on spatial variations in the change of water density and transport, usually termed dynamic sea level changes.

In this study, we focus on the component of dynamic sea level change that might be given by additional freshwater inflow to the ocean under scenarios of 21st-century land-based ice melt. We present regional patterns of dynamic sea level change given by a global-coupled atmosphere-ocean climate model forced by spatially and temporally varying projected ice-melt fluxes from three sources: the Antarctic ice sheet, the Greenland Ice Sheet and small glaciers and ice caps. The largest ice melt flux we consider is equivalent to almost 0.7 m of global mean sea level rise over the 21st century. The temporal evolution of the dynamic sea level changes, in the presence of considerable variations in the ice melt flux, is also analysed.

We find that the dynamic sea level change associated with the ice melt is small, with the largest changes occurring in the North Atlantic amounting to 3 cm above the global mean rise. Furthermore, the dynamic sea level change associated with the ice melt is similar regardless of whether the simulated ice fluxes are applied to a simulation with fixed CO2 or under a business-as-usual greenhouse gas warming scenario of increasing CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-500
Number of pages16
JournalOcean Science
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • SURFACE MASS-BALANCE
  • MERIDIONAL OVERTURNING CIRCULATION
  • ATLANTIC THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION
  • FRESH-WATER
  • CLIMATE-MODEL
  • SOUTHERN-OCEAN
  • SHEET MODEL
  • CENTENNIAL VARIABILITY
  • SPATIAL SENSITIVITIES
  • GLACIER CONTRIBUTIONS

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