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Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea level rise during the last interglacial period: a modelling study driven and constrained by ice core data

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Abstract:

As pointed out by the forth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC-AR4 (Meehl et al., 2007), the contribution of the two major ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland, to global sea level rise, is a subject of key importance for the scientific community. By the end of the next century, a 3–5 °C warming is expected in Greenland. Similar temperatures in this region were reached during the last interglacial (LIG) period, 130–115 ka BP, due to a change in orbital configuration rather than to an anthropogenic forcing. Ice core evidence suggests that the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) survived this warm period, but great uncertainties remain about the total Greenland ice reduction during the LIG. Here we perform long-term simulations of the GIS using an improved ice sheet model. Both the methodologies chosen to reconstruct palaeoclimate and to calibrate the model are strongly based on proxy data. We suggest a relatively low contribution to LIG sea level rise from Greenland melting, ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 m of sea level equivalent, contrasting with previous studies. Our results suggest an important contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to the LIG highstand.

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