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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-26
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-26
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model experiment description paper 15 Feb 2019

Model experiment description paper | 15 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Assessment of Sub-Shelf Melting Parameterisations Using theOcean-Ice Sheet Coupled Model NEMO(v3.6)-Elmer/Ice(v8.3)

Lionel Favier1, Nicolas C. Jourdain1, Adrian Jenkins2, Nacho Merino1, Gaël Durand1, Olivier Gagliardini1, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet1, and Pierre Mathiot3 Lionel Favier et al.
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK
  • 3Met Office, Exeter, UK

Abstract. Oceanic melting beneath ice shelves is the main driver of the current mass loss of the Antarctic ice sheet, and is mostly parameterised in stand-alone ice-sheet modelling. Parameterisations are crude representations of reality, and their response to ocean warming has not been assessed in regard to 3D ocean-ice sheet coupled models. Here, we assess various melting parameterisations ranging from simple scalings with far-field thermal driving to emulators of box and plume models, using a new coupling framework combining the ocean model NEMO and the ice-sheet model Elmer/Ice. We define six idealised one-century scenarios for the far-field ocean ranging from cold to warm, and representative of potential futures for typical Antarctic ice shelves. The scenarios are used to constrain an idealised geometry of the Pine Island glacier representative of a relatively small cavity. Melt rates and sea-level contributions obtained with the parameterised stand-alone ice-sheet model are compared to the coupled model results. The plume parameterisation underestimates the contribution to sea level when forced by the warm(ing) scenarios. The box parameterisation compares fairly well to the coupled results in general and gives the best results using five boxes. For simple scalings, the comparison to the coupled framework shows that a quadratic dependency to thermal forcing is required, as opposed to linear. In addition, the quadratic dependency is improved when melting depends on both local and nonlocal, i.e. averaged over the ice shelf, thermal forcing. The results of both the box and the two quadratic parameterisations fall within or close to the coupled model uncertainty. Considering more robust sub-shelt melting parameterisations is key to decrease uncertainties on the Antarctic contribution to sea level rise. Comparing parameterisations to ocean/ice-sheet coupled simulations under various scenarios helps to assess them.

Lionel Favier et al.
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Lionel Favier et al.
Model code and software

NEMO-Elmer/Ice Coupling Framework, version 1.1 N. Jourdain and L. Favier https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2562838

NEMO setup, version Feb-2019 N. Jourdain and L. Favier https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2562731

Elmer/Ice setup, version 1.2 N. Jourdain and L. Favier https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2563156

Lionel Favier et al.
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Latest update: 21 Apr 2019
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Short summary
The melting due to oceanic forcing at the base of ice shelves is the main driver of current Antarctic marine terminating glaciers. We assess various melting parameterisations ranging from simple scalings with far-field thermal driving to emulators of box and plume models, using a new Ocean-Ice Sheet coupled model. Two types of quadratic dependencies to thermal forcing show the best trade-off between the simplicity of the approach and the results accuracy in comparison to the coupled model.
The melting due to oceanic forcing at the base of ice shelves is the main driver of current...
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