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Title: Resolving glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) in response to modern and future ice loss at marine grounding lines in West Antarctica
Abstract. Accurate glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) modelling in the cryosphere is required for interpreting satellite, geophysical and geological recordsand for assessing the feedbacks of Earth deformation and sea-level change on marine ice-sheet grounding lines. GIA modelling in areas of active ice lossin West Antarctica is particularly challenging because the ice is underlain by laterally varying mantle viscosities that are up to several orders ofmagnitude lower than the global average, leading to a faster and more localised response of the solid Earth to ongoing and future ice-sheet retreatand necessitating GIA models that incorporate 3-D viscoelastic Earth structure. Improvements to GIA models allow for computation of the viscoelasticresponse of the Earth to surface ice loading at sub-kilometre resolution, and ice-sheet models and observational products now provide the inputs toGIA models at comparably unprecedented detail. However, the resolution required to accurately capture GIA in models remains poorly understood, andhigh-resolution calculations come at heavy computational expense. We adopt a 3-D GIA model with a range of Earth structure models based on recentseismic tomography and geodetic data to perform a comprehensive analysis of the influence of grid resolution on predictions of GIA in the AmundsenSea Embayment (ASE) in West Antarctica. Through idealised sensitivity testing down to sub-kilometre resolution with spatially isolated ice loadingchanges, we find that a grid resolution of ∼ 13 of the radius of the load or higher is required to accurately capture the elasticresponse of the Earth. However, when we consider more realistic, spatially coherent ice loss scenarios based on modern observational records andfuture ice-sheet model projections and adopt a viscoelastic Earth, we find that predicted deformation and sea-level change along the grounding lineconverge to within 5 % with grid resolutions of 7.5 km or higher, and to within 2 % for grid resolutions of 3.75 km andhigher, even when the input ice model is on a 1 km grid. Furthermore, we show that low mantle viscosities beneath the ASE lead to viscousdeformation that contributes to the instrumental record on decadal timescales and equals or dominates over elastic effects by the end of the 21stcentury. Our findings suggest that for the range of resolutions of 1.9–15 km that we considered, the error due to adopting a coarser gridin this region is negligible compared to the effect of neglecting viscous effects and the uncertainty in the adopted mantle viscosity structure.  more » « less
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Cryosphere
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2203 to 2223
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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