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Abstract. Numerical simulations of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) over geologictimescales can greatly improve our knowledge of the critical factors drivingGrIS demise during climatically warm periods, which has clear relevance forbetter predicting GrIS behavior over the upcoming centuries. To assess thefidelity of these modeling efforts, however, observational constraints ofpast ice sheet change are needed. Across southwestern Greenland, geologicrecords detail Holocene ice retreat across both terrestrial-based and marine-terminating environments, providing an ideal opportunity to rigorouslybenchmark model simulations against geologic reconstructions of ice sheetchange. Here, we present regional ice sheet modeling results using theIce-sheet and Sea-level System Model (ISSM) of Holocene ice sheet historyacross an extensive fjord region in southwestern Greenland covering thelandscape around the Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (KNS) glacier and extendingoutward along the 200 km Nuup Kangerula (Godthåbsfjord). Oursimulations, forced by reconstructions of Holocene climate and recentlyimplemented calving laws, assess the sensitivity of ice retreat across theKNS region to atmospheric and oceanic forcing. Our simulations reveal thatthe geologically reconstructed ice retreat across the terrestrial landscapein the study area was likely driven by fluctuations in surface mass balancein response to Early Holocene warming – and was likely not influencedsignificantly by the response of adjacent outlet glaciers to calving andocean-induced melting. The impact of ice calving within fjords, however,plays a significant role by enhancing ice discharge at the terminus, leadingto interior thinning up to the ice divide that is consistent withreconstructed magnitudes of Early Holocene ice thinning. Our results,benchmarked against geologic constraints of past ice-margin change, suggestthat while calving did not strongly influence Holocene ice-margin migrationacross terrestrial portions of the KNS forefield, it strongly impactedregional mass loss. While these results imply that the implementation andresolution of ice calving in paleo-ice-flow models is important towardsmaking more robust estimations of past ice mass change, they also illustratethe importance these processes have on contemporary and future long-term icemass change across similar fjord-dominated regions of the GrIS.more » « less
null (Ed.)Abstract. Ice flow models of the Antarctic ice sheet are commonly used to simulate its future evolution inresponse to different climate scenarios and assess the mass loss that would contribute tofuture sea level rise. However, there is currently no consensus on estimates of the future massbalance of the ice sheet, primarily because of differences in the representation of physicalprocesses, forcings employed and initial states of ice sheet models. This study presentsresults from ice flow model simulations from 13 international groups focusing on the evolutionof the Antarctic ice sheet during the period 2015–2100 as part of the Ice Sheet ModelIntercomparison for CMIP6 (ISMIP6). They are forced with outputs from a subset of models from theCoupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), representative of the spread in climatemodel results. Simulations of the Antarctic ice sheet contribution to sea level rise in responseto increased warming during this period varies between −7.8 and 30.0 cm of sea level equivalent(SLE) under Representative ConcentrationPathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario forcing. These numbers are relative to a control experiment withconstant climate conditions and should therefore be added to the mass loss contribution underclimate conditions similar to present-day conditions over the same period. The simulated evolution of theWest Antarctic ice sheet varies widely among models, with an overall mass loss, up to 18.0 cm SLE, in response to changes in oceanic conditions. East Antarctica mass change varies between −6.1 and8.3 cm SLE in the simulations, with a significant increase in surface mass balance outweighingthe increased ice discharge under most RCP 8.5 scenario forcings. The inclusion of ice shelfcollapse, here assumed to be caused by large amounts of liquid water ponding at the surface ofice shelves, yields an additional simulated mass loss of 28 mm compared to simulations without iceshelf collapse. The largest sources of uncertainty come from the climate forcing, the ocean-induced melt rates, thecalibration of these melt rates based on oceanic conditions taken outside of ice shelf cavitiesand the ice sheet dynamic response to these oceanic changes. Results under RCP 2.6 scenario basedon two CMIP5 climate models show an additional mass loss of 0 and 3 cm of SLE on average compared tosimulations done under present-day conditions for the two CMIP5 forcings used and displaylimited mass gain in East Antarctica.more » « less