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Assessing uncertainty in the dynamical ice response to ocean warming in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11253-11260
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Early online date15 Oct 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Sep 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 15 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 19 Nov 2019


Ice mass loss from the Amundsen Sea Embayment ice streams in West Antarctica is a major source of uncertainty in projections of future sea‐level rise. Physically‐based ice‐flow models rely on a number of parameters that represent unobservable quantities and processes, and accounting for uncertainty in these parameters can lead to a wide range of dynamic responses. Here we perform a Bayesian calibration of a perturbed‐parameter ensemble, in which we score each ensemble member on its ability to match the magnitude and broad spatial pattern of present‐day observations of ice sheet surface elevation change. We apply an idealized melt‐rate forcing to extend the most likely simulations forward to 2200. We find that diverging grounding‐line response between ensemble members drives an exaggeration in the upper tail of the distribution of sea level rise by 2200, demonstrating that extreme future outcomes cannot be excluded.

    Research areas

  • sea‐level rise, Antarctica, grounding lines, ice sheet modeling, calibration

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    Licence: CC BY


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