Ice plug prevents irreversible discharge from East Antarctica

Published: Oct 8, 2014 by The PISM Authors

In a just-published Nature Climate Change article, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research authors Matthias Mengel and Anders Levermann use PISM to define the “ice-plug” which, if removed from the coastal ice in the Wilkes Basin of East Antarctica, would initiate irreversible retreat of the grounded ice in that basin. The modeled retreats, which occur on a time scale of a few thousand years, generate 3–4 m of sea level rise from the region surrounding the basin. Thus this basin is a potential “tipping-point” ice sheet configuration, in additional to the better-known West Antarctica configurations.

Figure from Mengel and Levermann, 2014

For the PISM user this paper is an indication of its ability to model an ice sheet region (hashed in figure) at high resolution across a range of ice dynamics parameters and climate forcing choices.

This Science Daily news item quotes the authors about this work.

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