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Consistent evidence of increasing Antarctic accumulation with warming

  • Projections of changes in Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) surface mass balance indicate a negative contribution to sea level because of the expected increase in precipitation due to the higher moisture holding capacity of warmer air(1). Observations over the past decades, however, are unable to constrain the relation between temperature and accumulation changes because both are dominated by strong natural variability(2-5). Here we derive a consistent continental-scale increase in accumulation of approximately 5 +/- 1% K-1, through the assessment of ice-core data (spanning the large temperature change during the last deglaciation, 21,000 to 10,000 years ago), in combination with palaeo-simulations, future projections by 35 general circulation models (GCMs), and one high-resolution future simulation. The ice-core data and modelling results for the last deglaciation agree, showing uniform local sensitivities of similar to 6% K-1. The palaeo-simulation allows for a continental-scale aggregation of accumulation changes reaching 4.3% K-1. DespiteProjections of changes in Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) surface mass balance indicate a negative contribution to sea level because of the expected increase in precipitation due to the higher moisture holding capacity of warmer air(1). Observations over the past decades, however, are unable to constrain the relation between temperature and accumulation changes because both are dominated by strong natural variability(2-5). Here we derive a consistent continental-scale increase in accumulation of approximately 5 +/- 1% K-1, through the assessment of ice-core data (spanning the large temperature change during the last deglaciation, 21,000 to 10,000 years ago), in combination with palaeo-simulations, future projections by 35 general circulation models (GCMs), and one high-resolution future simulation. The ice-core data and modelling results for the last deglaciation agree, showing uniform local sensitivities of similar to 6% K-1. The palaeo-simulation allows for a continental-scale aggregation of accumulation changes reaching 4.3% K-1. Despite the different timescales, these sensitivities agree with the multi-model mean of 6.1 +/- 2.6% K-1 (GCMprojections) and the continental-scale sensitivity of 4.9% K-1 (high-resolution future simulation). Because some of the mass gain of the AIS is offset by dynamical losses induced by accumulation(6,7), we provide a response function allowing projections of sea-level fall in terms of continental-scale accumulation changes that compete with surface melting and dynamical losses induced by other mechanisms(6,8,9).show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Katja FrielerORCiDGND, Peter U. Clark, Feng He, Christo Buizert, Ronja ReeseORCiDGND, Stefan R. M. Ligtenberg, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Ricarda WinkelmannORCiDGND, Anders LevermannORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2574
ISSN:1758-678X
ISSN:1758-6798
Parent Title (English):Nature climate change
Publisher:Nature Publ. Group
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Volume:5
Issue:4
Pagenumber:5
First Page:348
Last Page:352
Funder:US NSF Antarctic Glaciology Program [ANT-1043517]; Office of Science of the Department of Energy [DE-AC05-00OR22725]; US NSF [AGS-1203430]; US NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship program; Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany [11_II_093_Global_A_SIDS]; Netherlands Polar Program of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, section Earth and Life Sciences (NWO/ALW/NPP); Ice2sea project - the European Commission 7th Framework Programme [226375]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Physik und Astronomie
Peer Review:Referiert