Advanced search


Full Text:


This study projects the sea level contribution from the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) through to 2100, using a recently developed ice dynamics model forced by atmospheric parameters derived from three different climate models (CGCMs). The geographical pattern of the near-surface ice warming imposes a divergent flow field favoring mass loss through enhanced ice flow. The calculated average mass loss rate during the latter half of the 21st century is ~0.64±0.06 mm/year eustatic sea level rise, which is significantly larger than the IPCC AR4 estimate from surface mass balance. The difference is due largely to the positive feedbacks from reduced ice viscosity and the basal sliding mechanism present in the ice dynamics model. This inter-model, inter-scenario spread adds approximately a 20% uncertainty to the IPCC ice model estimates. The sea level rise is geographically non-uniform and reaches 1.69±0.24 mm/year by 2100 for the northeast coastal region of the United States, amplified by the expected weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). In contrast to previous estimates, which neglected the GrIS fresh water input, both sides of the North Atlantic Gyre are projected to experience sea level rises. The impacts on a selection of major cities on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Pacific and southern oceans also are assessed. The other ocean basins are found to be less affected than the Atlantic Ocean.

About the Authors

Diandong Ren

Australian Sustainable Development Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Lance Leslie

Australian Sustainable Development Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

School of Meteorology, College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Mervyn Lynch

Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University of Technology

Qinghua Ye

Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China


1. Alley, R. (1993), In search of ice-stream sticky spots. J. Glaciol., 39, 447–454.

2. Alley, R. (2000), Ice-core evidence of abrupt climate changes. PNAS, 97, 1331–1334.

3. Alley, R., T. Dupont, B. Parizek, S. Anandakrishnan, D. Lawson, G. Larson, and E. Evenson

4. (2005), Outburst flooding and initiation of ice-stream surges in response to climatic cooling:

5. A hypothesis. Geomorphology, doi 10.1016.

6. Hooke, R., 1981: Flow law for polycrystalline ice in glaciers: comparison of theoretical

7. predictions, laboratory data, and field measurements. Rev. Geophys. Space Phys. 19,

8. pp. 664–672.

9. IPCC, AR4 (2007), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working

10. Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate

11. Change. Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning (eds).

12. Landerer, F., Jungclaus, J., and J. Marotzke (2007), J. Phys. Oceanogr. 37, 296–312.

13. MacAyeal, D. (1992), Irregular oscillations of the west Antarctic ice sheet. Nature, 359,

14. pp. 29–32.

15. Meehl, G.A., et al. (2007), Global Climate Projections. In: Climate, Change 2007: The Physical

16. Science Basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and NY, USA. Projections of

17. Global Average Sea Level Change for the 21st Century Chapter 10, p 820.

18. Mernild, S., G. Liston, C. Hiemstra, J. Christensen (2010), Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass-

19. Balance Modeling in a 131-Yr Perspective, 1950–2080. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 11,

20. pp. 3–25.

21. Peltier, W. R. in Sea Level Rise: History and Consequences (eds Douglas, B. C., Kearney, M.

22. S. & Leatherman, S. P.) 65–95 (Academic, 2001).

23. Rahmstorf, S. (2007), A semi-empirical approach to projecting future sea-level rise. Science,

24. , 368–370.

25. Raper, S., and R. Braithwaite (2006), Low sea level rise projections from mountain glaciers

26. and icecaps under global warming. Nature, 439, pp. 311–313.

27. Ren, D., R. Fu, L. M. Leslie, D. J. Karoly, J. Chen, and C. Wilson (2011a), The Greenland ice

28. sheet response to transient climate change: verification with remotely sensed properties.

29. J. Climate. In press.

30. Ren, D., R. Fu, L. M. Leslie, D. J. Karoly, J. Chen, and C. Wilson (2011b), A multirheology ice

31. model: Formulation and application to the Greenland ice sheet, J. Geophys. Res., 116,

32. D05112, doi:10.1029/2010JD014855.

33. Rignot, E., and P. Kanagaratnam (2006), Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland

34. ice sheet. Science, 311, pp. 986–990.

35. Van den Broeke, M., J. Bamber, J. Ettema, E. Rignot, E. Schrama, W. van de Berg, E. van Meijgaard,

36. I. Velicogna, B. Wouters (2009), Partitioning recent Greenland mass loss. Science,

37. , pp. 984–986.

38. Van der Veen, C. (1999), Fundamentals of glacier dynamics. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam,

39. Netherlands, 472 pp.

40. Wang Wang, W., R. Warner (1999), Modelling of anisotropic ice flow in Law Dome, East

41. Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 29, 184–190.

42. Yin, J., M. Schlesinger, and R. Stouffer (2009), Model projections of rapid sea-level rise on

43. the northeast coast of the United States. Nature-geosciences, 2, pp. 262–266.

44. Zwally, H., and M. Giovinetto (2001), Balance mass flux and ice velocity across the equilibrium

45. line in drainage systems of Greenland. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 33717–33728.

46. Zwinger, T., R. Greve, O. Gagliardini, T. Shiraiwa, and M. Lyly (2007), A full Stokes flow

47. thermo-mechanical model for firn and ice applied to Gorshkov crater glacier, Kamchatka,

48. Ann. Glaciol., 45, pp. 29–37.

For citation:


Views: 222

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)