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Title: Viscous Effects in the Solid Earth Response to Modern Antarctic Ice Mass Flux: Implications for Geodetic Studies of WAIS Stability in a Warming World
Abstract The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) overlies a thin, variable-thickness lithosphere and a shallow upper-mantle region of laterally varying and, in some regions, very low (~1018 Pa s) viscosity. We explore the extent to which viscous effects may affect predictions of present-day geoid and crustal deformation rates resulting from Antarctic ice mass flux over the last quarter century and project these calculations into the next half century, using viscoelastic Earth models of varying complexity. Peak deformation rates at the end of a 25-yr simulation predicted with an elastic model underestimate analogous predictions that are based on a 3D viscoelastic Earth model (with minimum viscosity below West Antarctica of 1018 Pa s) by ~15 and ~3 mm yr−1 in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively, at sites overlying low-viscosity mantle and close to high rates of ice mass flux. The discrepancy in uplift rate can be reduced by adopting 1D Earth models tuned to the regional average viscosity profile beneath West Antarctica. In the case of horizontal crustal rates, adopting 1D regional viscosity models is no more accurate in recovering predictions that are based on 3D viscosity models than calculations that assume a purely elastic Earth. The magnitude and relative more » contribution of viscous relaxation to crustal deformation rates will likely increase significantly in the next several decades, and the adoption of 3D viscoelastic Earth models in analyses of geodetic datasets [e.g., Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS); Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)] will be required to accurately estimate the magnitude of Antarctic modern ice mass flux in the progressively warming world. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
443 to 459
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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