Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin

Published: Feb 1, 2016 by The PISM Authors

   
Title Collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet after local destabilization of the Amundsen Basin
Authors J. Feldmann and A. Levermann
Venue Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

This prominent paper uses a PISM simulation to show how a localized destabilization in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica causes a complete disintegration of the marine ice in West Antarctica. In these 5-km horizontal resolution simulations, the region disequilibrates after 60 y of currently-observed sub-shelft melt rates. Thereafter the marine ice-sheet instability fully unfolds and is not halted by topographic features. In fact, the ice loss in Amundsen Sea sector shifts the catchment’s ice divide toward the Filchner–Ronne and Ross ice shelves, which initiates grounding-line retreat there. Our simulations suggest that if a destabilization of Amundsen Sea sector has indeed been initiated, Antarctica will irrevocably contribute at least 3 m to global sea-level rise during the coming centuries to millennia. See the videos linked in this news item.

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