Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves

Clemens Schannwell, Stephen Cornford, David Pollard, Nicholas E. Barrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ice shelf break-up and disintegration events over the past 5 decades have led to speed-up, thinning, and retreat of upstream tributary glaciers and increases to rates of global sea-level rise. The southward progression of these episodes indicates a climatic cause and in turn suggests that the larger Larsen C and George VI ice shelves may undergo a similar collapse in the future. However, the extent to which removal of the Larsen C and George VI ice shelves will affect upstream tributary glaciers and add to global sea levels is unknown. Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low ( < 2.5 mm to 2100, < 4.2 mm to 2300). Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8 mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22 mm by 2300 due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2307-2326
Number of pages20
JournalCryosphere
Volume12
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 19 2018

Fingerprint

ice shelf
dynamic response
ice sheet
glacier
sea level
tributary
shelf break
thinning
basin

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Schannwell, Clemens ; Cornford, Stephen ; Pollard, David ; Barrand, Nicholas E. / Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves. In: Cryosphere. 2018 ; Vol. 12, No. 7. pp. 2307-2326.
@article{f8ff3ce8afa1445cb9aa0414ac84de2a,
title = "Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves",
abstract = "Ice shelf break-up and disintegration events over the past 5 decades have led to speed-up, thinning, and retreat of upstream tributary glaciers and increases to rates of global sea-level rise. The southward progression of these episodes indicates a climatic cause and in turn suggests that the larger Larsen C and George VI ice shelves may undergo a similar collapse in the future. However, the extent to which removal of the Larsen C and George VI ice shelves will affect upstream tributary glaciers and add to global sea levels is unknown. Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low ( < 2.5 mm to 2100, < 4.2 mm to 2300). Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8 mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22 mm by 2300 due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.",
author = "Clemens Schannwell and Stephen Cornford and David Pollard and Barrand, {Nicholas E.}",
year = "2018",
month = "7",
day = "19",
doi = "10.5194/tc-12-2307-2018",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "12",
pages = "2307--2326",
journal = "Cryosphere",
issn = "1994-0416",
publisher = "Copernicus Group",
number = "7",

}

Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves. / Schannwell, Clemens; Cornford, Stephen; Pollard, David; Barrand, Nicholas E.

In: Cryosphere, Vol. 12, No. 7, 19.07.2018, p. 2307-2326.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dynamic response of Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet to potential collapse of Larsen C and George VI ice shelves

AU - Schannwell, Clemens

AU - Cornford, Stephen

AU - Pollard, David

AU - Barrand, Nicholas E.

PY - 2018/7/19

Y1 - 2018/7/19

N2 - Ice shelf break-up and disintegration events over the past 5 decades have led to speed-up, thinning, and retreat of upstream tributary glaciers and increases to rates of global sea-level rise. The southward progression of these episodes indicates a climatic cause and in turn suggests that the larger Larsen C and George VI ice shelves may undergo a similar collapse in the future. However, the extent to which removal of the Larsen C and George VI ice shelves will affect upstream tributary glaciers and add to global sea levels is unknown. Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low ( < 2.5 mm to 2100, < 4.2 mm to 2300). Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8 mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22 mm by 2300 due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.

AB - Ice shelf break-up and disintegration events over the past 5 decades have led to speed-up, thinning, and retreat of upstream tributary glaciers and increases to rates of global sea-level rise. The southward progression of these episodes indicates a climatic cause and in turn suggests that the larger Larsen C and George VI ice shelves may undergo a similar collapse in the future. However, the extent to which removal of the Larsen C and George VI ice shelves will affect upstream tributary glaciers and add to global sea levels is unknown. Here we apply numerical ice-sheet models of varying complexity to show that the centennial sea-level commitment of Larsen C embayment glaciers following immediate shelf collapse is low ( < 2.5 mm to 2100, < 4.2 mm to 2300). Despite its large size, Larsen C does not provide strong buttressing forces to upstream basins and its collapse does not result in large additional discharge from its tributary glaciers in any of our model scenarios. In contrast, the response of inland glaciers to a collapse of the George VI Ice Shelf may add up to 8 mm to global sea levels by 2100 and 22 mm by 2300 due in part to the mechanism of marine ice sheet instability. Our results demonstrate the varying and relative importance to sea level of the large Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves considered to present a risk of collapse.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85050468215&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85050468215&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.5194/tc-12-2307-2018

DO - 10.5194/tc-12-2307-2018

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85050468215

VL - 12

SP - 2307

EP - 2326

JO - Cryosphere

JF - Cryosphere

SN - 1994-0416

IS - 7

ER -