Monte Carlo modelling projects the loss of most land-terminating glaciers on Svalbard in the 21st century under RCP 8.5 forcing

Marco Möller, Francisco Navarro, Alba Martín-Español

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
244 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The high Arctic archipelagos around the globe are among the most strongly glacierized landscapes on Earth apart from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Over the past decades, the mass losses from land ice in the high Arctic regions have contributed substantially to global sea level rise. Among these regions, the archipelago of Svalbard showed the smallest mass losses. However, this could change in the coming decades, as Svalbard is expected to be exposed to strong climate warming over the 21st century. Here we present extensive Monte Carlo simulations of the future ice-mass evolution of 29 individual land-terminating glaciers on the Svalbard archipelago under an RCP 8.5 climate forcing. An extrapolation of the 29 sample glaciers to all land-terminating glaciers of the archipelago suggests an almost complete deglaciation of the region by 2100. Under RCP 8.5, 98% of the land-terminating glaciers will have declined to less than one tenth of their initial size, resulting in a loss of 7392 ± 2481 km 2 of ice coverage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number094006
Number of pages1
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume11
Issue number9
Early online date31 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Svalbard
  • Glaciology
  • modelling

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