Greenland’s contribution to global sea-level rise by the end of the 21st century

Edited: 2011-10-12
TitleGreenland’s contribution to global sea-level rise by the end of the 21st century
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGraversen, R., S. Drijfhout, W. Hazeleger, R. Wal, R. Bintanja, and M. Helsen
JournalClimate Dynamics
Pagination1427 - 1442
Date Published10/2011
Keywordsclimate, ice, sea_level
AbstractThe Greenland ice sheet holds enough water to raise the global sea level with ∼7 m. Over the last few decades, observations manifest a substantial increase of the mass loss of this ice sheet. Both enhanced melting and increase of the dynamical discharge, associated with calving at the outlet-glacier fronts, are contributing to the mass imbalance. Using a dynamical and thermodynamical ice-sheet model, and taking into account speed up of outlet glaciers, we estimate Greenland’s contribution to the 21st-century global sea-level rise and the uncertainty of this estimate. Boundary fields of temperature and precipitation extracted from coupled climate-model projections used for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, are applied to the ice-sheet model. We implement a simple parameterization for increased flow of outlet glaciers, which decreases the bias of the modeled present-day surface height. It also allows for taking into account the observed recent increase in dynamical discharge, and it can be used for future projections associated with outlet-glacier speed up. Greenland contributes 0–17 cm to global sea-level rise by the end of the 21st century. This range includes the uncertainties in climate-model projections, the uncertainty associated with scenarios of greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as the uncertainties in future outlet-glacier discharge. In addition, the range takes into account the uncertainty of the ice-sheet model and its boundary fields.
Short TitleClim Dyn