Testing the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to Southern Ocean dynamics: past changes and future implications

Published: Mar 1, 2015 by The PISM Authors

   
Title Testing the sensitivity of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to Southern Ocean dynamics: past changes and future implications
Authors C. Fogwill, C. Turney, K. Meissner, N. Golledge, P. Spence, J. Roberts, M. England, R. Jones, and L. Carter
Venue Journal of Quaternary Science

The stability of the Antarctic ice sheet and its contribution to sea level under projected future warming remains highly uncertain. The Last Interglacial (LI; 135–116 ka ago) is a potential analogue for the present period, with sea levels 6.6–9.4 m higher than present, and thus it deserves study. This paper examines a possible source of LI sea-level rise. These authors report on model simulations exploring the effects of migrating Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHWs) on Southern Ocean circulation and Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics. The effect on ice dynamics is modeled with PISM, which plays only a supporting role in this work. They conclude that southerly shifts in winds may have significantly impacted the sub-polar gyres, inducing pervasive warming of 0.2–0.8 °C in the upper 1200 m adjacent to sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Thus the EAIS potentially made a substantial, hitherto unsuspected, contribution to LI sea levels.

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