Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New paper finds Greenland less vulnerable to thaw than previously thought

A paper published today in Climate of the Past finds that Greenland was resistant to melting during the last interglacial, despite temperatures much warmer than the present. The authors find "a relatively low contribution to Last Interglacial sea level rise from Greenland melting, ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 meters of sea level equivalent," even less than that found by another study recently published in Nature of 2 meters. The resistance of Greenland to thaw despite much higher temperatures [8 C] during the last interglacial led warmist blogger Andy Rivkin of the NY Times to remark, "...Greenland doesn’t need 'saving'.” 

Clim. Past, 9, 353-366, 2013

Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea level rise during the last interglacial period: a modelling study driven and constrained by ice core data

A. Quiquet1,*, C. Ritz1, H. J. Punge2,**, and D. Salas y Mélia3
1UJF – Grenoble 1/CNRS, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE), UMR5183, Grenoble, 38041, France
2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE)/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, UMR8212, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
3CNRM-GAME, URA CNRS-Météo-France 1357, Toulouse, France
*now at: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
**now at: Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

 Abstract. As pointed out by the forth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC-AR4 (Meehl et al., 2007), the contribution of the two major ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland, to global sea level rise, is a subject of key importance for the scientific community. By the end of the next century, a 3–5 °C warming is expected in Greenland. Similar temperatures in this region were reached during the last interglacial (LIG) period, 130–115 ka BP, due to a change in orbital configuration rather than to an anthropogenic forcing. Ice core evidence suggests that the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) survived this warm period, but great uncertainties remain about the total Greenland ice reduction during the LIG. Here we perform long-term simulations of the GIS using an improved ice sheet model. Both the methodologies chosen to reconstruct palaeoclimate and to calibrate the model are strongly based on proxy data. We suggest a relatively low contribution to LIG sea level rise from Greenland melting, ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 m of sea level equivalent, contrasting with previous studies. Our results suggest an important contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to the LIG highstand.

 Final Revised Paper (PDF, 3093 KB)   Supplement (420 KB)   Discussion Paper (CPD)   Special Issue

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