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The importance of insolation changes for paleo ice sheet modeling



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Robinson, Alexander James and Goelzer, H. (2014) The importance of insolation changes for paleo ice sheet modeling. Cryosphere, 8 (4). pp. 1419-1428. ISSN 1419–1428

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tc-8-1419-2014


The growth and retreat of continental ice sheets in the past has largely been a response to changing climatic forcing. Since ablation is the principal component of mass loss for land-based ice sheets, the calculation of surface melt is an important aspect of paleo ice sheet modeling. Changesin insolation are often not accounted for in calculations of surface melt, under the assumption that the near-surface temperature transmits the majority of the climatic forcing to the ice sheet. To assess how this could affect paleo simulations, here we investigate the importance of different orbital configurations for estimating melt on the Greenland ice sheet. We find that during peak Eemian conditions, increased insolation contributes 20–50 % to the surface melt anomaly. However, this percentage depends strongly on the temperature anomaly at the time. For higher temperature anomalies, the role of insolation changes is less important. This relationship is not homogenous over the ice sheet, since the contribution of insolation to melt is modulated by the local surface albedo. In coupled simulations, the additional insolation-induced melt translates into up to threefold more ice volume loss, compared to output using a model that does not account for insolation changes. We also introduce a simple correction factor that allows reduced-complexity melt models to account for changes in insolation.

Item Type:Article
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© Author(s) 2014. A. Robinson was funded by project CGL2011- 29672-C02-01 (Gobierno de España, Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad) and the Marie Curie 7th framework programme. H. Goelzer was funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office within its Research Programme on Science for a Sustainable Development under contract SD/CS/06A (iCLIPS).

Uncontrolled Keywords:Balance-elevation feedback; Greenland; Simulations; Holocene.
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
ID Code:29246
Deposited On:20 Mar 2015 09:42
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 15:05

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