»Das größte Risiko beim Meeresspiegelanstieg liegt in der Antarktis«

Earth Systems Dynamics, 14.2.2020 (engl. Originalfassung)

The sea level contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet constitutes a large uncertainty in future sea level projections. Here we apply a linear response theory approach to 16 state-of-the-art ice sheet models to estimate the Antarctic ice sheet contribution from basal ice shelf melting within the 21st century. The purpose of this computation is to estimate the uncertainty of Antarctica's future contribution to global sea level rise that arises from large uncertainty in the oceanic forcing and the associated ice shelf melting. Ice shelf melting is considered to be a major if not the largest perturbation of the ice sheet's flow into the ocean. However, by computing only the sea level contribution in response to ice shelf melting, our study is neglecting a number of processes such as surface-mass-balance-related contributions.


We thus have to conclude that uncertainty with respect to the ice dynamic contribution of Antarctica due to future warming is still increasing and thus that coastal planning has to take into account that multi-decadal sea level projections are likely to change with an increasing understanding of the ice dynamics and their representation in ice sheet models. This study provides an estimate of the uncertainty in the future contribution of Antarctica to global sea level rise only based on known ice dynamics but including the full range of forcing uncertainty. It substantiates the result of the previous study that Antarctica can become the largest contributor to global sea level rise in the future, in particular if carbon emissions are not abated.

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