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See detailGreenland Ice Sheet seasonal and spatial mass variability from model simulations and GRACE (2003–2012)
Alexander, P.; Tedesco, M.; Schlegel, N-J et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2016), 10

Improving the ability of regional climate models (RCMs) and ice sheet models (ISMs) to simulate spatiotemporal variations in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is crucial for prediction of future ... [more ▼]

Improving the ability of regional climate models (RCMs) and ice sheet models (ISMs) to simulate spatiotemporal variations in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is crucial for prediction of future sea level rise. While several studies have examined recent trends in GrIS mass loss, studies focusing on mass variations at sub-annual and sub-basin-wide scales are still lacking. At these scales, processes responsible for mass change are less well understood and modeled, and could potentially play an important role in future GrIS mass change. Here, we examine spatiotemporal variations in mass over the GrIS derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites for the January 2003–December 2012 period using a "mascon" approach, with a nominal spatial resolution of 100 km, and a temporal resolution of 10 days. We compare GRACE-estimated mass variations against those simulated by the Modèle Atmosphérique Régionale (MAR) RCM and the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). In order to properly compare spatial and temporal variations in GrIS mass from GRACE with model outputs, we find it necessary to spatially and temporally filter model results to reproduce leakage of mass inherent in the GRACE solution. Both modeled and satellite-derived results point to a decline (of −178.9 ± 4.4 and −239.4 ± 7.7 Gt yr−1 respectively) in GrIS mass over the period examined, but the models appear to underestimate the rate of mass loss, especially in areas below 2000 m in elevation, where the majority of recent GrIS mass loss is occurring. On an ice-sheet-wide scale, the timing of the modeled seasonal cycle of cumulative mass (driven by summer mass loss) agrees with the GRACE-derived seasonal cycle, within limits of uncertainty from the GRACE solution. However, on sub-ice-sheet-wide scales, some areas exhibit significant differences in the timing of peaks in the annual cycle of mass change. At these scales, model biases, or processes not accounted for by models related to ice dynamics or hydrology, may lead to the observed differences. This highlights the need for further evaluation of modeled processes at regional and seasonal scales, and further study of ice sheet processes not accounted for, such as the role of subglacial hydrology in variations in glacial flow. [less ▲]

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See detailImaging air volume fraction in sea ice using non-destructive X-ray tomography
Crabeck, O; Galley, R.J.; Delille, Bruno ULg et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2016), 10

Although the presence of a gas phase in sea ice creates the potential for gas exchange with the atmosphere, the distribution of gas bubbles and transport of gases within the sea ice are still poorly ... [more ▼]

Although the presence of a gas phase in sea ice creates the potential for gas exchange with the atmosphere, the distribution of gas bubbles and transport of gases within the sea ice are still poorly understood. Currently no straightforward technique exists to measure the vertical distribution of air volume fraction in sea ice. Here, we present a new fast and non-destructive X-ray computed tomography technique to quantify the air volume fraction and produce separate images of air volume inclusions in sea ice. The technique was performed on relatively thin (4–22 cm) sea ice collected from an experimental ice tank. While most of the internal layers showed air volume fractions <2 %, the ice–air interface (top 2 cm) systematically showed values up to 5 %. We suggest that the air volume fraction is a function of both the bulk ice gas saturation factor and the brine volume fraction. We differentiate micro bubbles (Ø<1 mm), large bubbles (1mm<Ø<5 mm) and macro bubbles (Ø>5 mm). While micro bubbles were the most abundant type of gas bubbles, most of the air porosity observed resulted from the presence of large and macro bubbles. The ice texture (granular and columnar) as well as the permeability state of ice are important factors controlling the air volume fraction. The technique developed is suited for studies related to gas transport and bubble migration. [less ▲]

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See detailThe darkening of the Greenland ice sheet: trends, drivers, and projections (1981–2100)
Tedesco, M.; Doherty, S.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2016), 10

The surface energy balance and meltwater production of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) are modulated by snow and ice albedo through the amount of absorbed solar radiation. Here we show, using space-borne ... [more ▼]

The surface energy balance and meltwater production of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) are modulated by snow and ice albedo through the amount of absorbed solar radiation. Here we show, using space-borne multispectral data collected during the 3 decades from 1981 to 2012, that summertime surface albedo over the GrIS decreased at a statistically significant (99 %) rate of 0.02 decade−1 between 1996 and 2012. Over the same period, albedo modelled by the Modèle Atmosphérique Régionale (MAR) also shows a decrease, though at a lower rate ( ∼ −0.01 decade−1) than that obtained from space-borne data. We suggest that the discrepancy between modelled and measured albedo trends can be explained by the absence in the model of processes associated with the presence of light-absorbing impurities. The negative trend in observed albedo is confined to the regions of the GrIS that undergo melting in summer, with the dry-snow zone showing no trend. The period 1981–1996 also showed no statistically significant trend over the whole GrIS. Analysis of MAR outputs indicates that the observed albedo decrease is attributable to the combined effects of increased near-surface air temperatures, which enhanced melt and promoted growth in snow grain size and the expansion of bare ice areas, and to trends in light-absorbing impurities (LAI) on the snow and ice surfaces. Neither aerosol models nor in situ and remote sensing observations indicate increasing trends in LAI in the atmosphere over Greenland. Similarly, an analysis of the number of fires and BC emissions from fires points to the absence of trends for such quantities. This suggests that the apparent increase of LAI in snow and ice might be related to the exposure of a "dark band" of dirty ice and to increased consolidation of LAI at the surface with melt, not to increased aerosol deposition. Albedo projections through to the end of the century under different warming scenarios consistently point to continued darkening, with albedo anomalies averaged over the whole ice sheet lower by 0.08 in 2100 than in 2000, driven solely by a warming climate. Future darkening is likely underestimated because of known underestimates in modelled melting (as seen in hindcasts) and because the model albedo scheme does not currently include the effects of LAI, which have a positive feedback on albedo decline through increased melting, grain growth, and darkening. [less ▲]

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See detailFeasibility of improving a priori regional climate model estimates of Greenland ice sheet surface mass loss through assimilation of measured ice surface temperatures
Navari, M.; Margulis, S.A.; Bateni, S.M. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2016), 10

The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has been the focus of climate studies due to its considerable impact on sea level rise. Accurate estimates of surface mass fluxes would contribute to understanding the cause ... [more ▼]

The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) has been the focus of climate studies due to its considerable impact on sea level rise. Accurate estimates of surface mass fluxes would contribute to understanding the cause of its recent changes and would help to better estimate the past, current and future contribution of the GrIS to sea level rise. Though the estimates of the GrIS surface mass fluxes have improved significantly over the last decade, there is still considerable disparity between the results from different methodologies (e.g., Rae et al., 2012; Vernon et al., 2013). The data assimilation approach can merge information from different methodologies in a consistent way to improve the GrIS surface mass fluxes. In this study, an ensemble batch smoother data assimilation approach was developed to assess the feasibility of generating a reanalysis estimate of the GrIS surface mass fluxes via integrating remotely sensed ice surface temperature measurements with a regional climate model (a priori) estimate. The performance of the proposed methodology for generating an improved posterior estimate was investigated within an observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) framework using synthetically generated ice surface temperature measurements. The results showed that assimilation of ice surface temperature time series were able to overcome uncertainties in near-surface meteorological forcing variables that drive the GrIS surface processes. Our findings show that the proposed methodology is able to generate posterior reanalysis estimates of the surface mass fluxes that are in good agreement with the synthetic true estimates. The results also showed that the proposed data assimilation framework improves the root-mean-square error of the posterior estimates of runoff, sublimation/evaporation, surface condensation, and surface mass loss fluxes by 61, 64, 76, and 62 %, respectively, over the nominal a priori climate model estimates. [less ▲]

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See detailCentury-scale simulations of the response of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a warming climate
Cornford, S.L.; Martin, D.F.; Payne, A.J. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

We use the BISICLES adaptive mesh ice sheet model to carry out one, two, and three century simulations of the fast-flowing ice streams of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, deploying sub-kilometer resolution ... [more ▼]

We use the BISICLES adaptive mesh ice sheet model to carry out one, two, and three century simulations of the fast-flowing ice streams of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, deploying sub-kilometer resolution around the grounding line since coarser resolution results in substantial underestimation of the response. Each of the simulations begins with a geometry and velocity close to present-day observations, and evolves according to variation in meteoric ice accumulation rates and oceanic ice shelf melt rates. Future changes in accumulation and melt rates range from no change, through anomalies computed by atmosphere and ocean models driven by the E1 and A1B emissions scenarios, to spatially uniform melt rate anomalies that remove most of the ice shelves over a few centuries. We find that variation in the resulting ice dynamics is dominated by the choice of initial conditions and ice shelf melt rate and mesh resolution, although ice accumulation affects the net change in volume above flotation to a similar degree. Given sufficient melt rates, we compute grounding line retreat over hundreds of kilometers in every major ice stream, but the ocean models do not predict such melt rates outside of the Amundsen Sea Embayment until after 2100. Within the Amundsen Sea Embayment the largest single source of variability is the onset of sustained retreat in Thwaites Glacier, which can triple the rate of eustatic sea level rise. [less ▲]

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See detailRecent changes in north-west Greenland climate documented by NEEM shallow ice core data and simulations, and implications for past-temperature reconstructions
Masson-Delmotte, V.; Steen-Larsen, H.; Ortega, P. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

Combined records of snow accumulation rate, δ18O and deuterium excess were produced from several shallow ice cores and snow pits at NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), covering the period from ... [more ▼]

Combined records of snow accumulation rate, δ18O and deuterium excess were produced from several shallow ice cores and snow pits at NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), covering the period from 1724 to 2007. They are used to investigate recent climate variability and characterise the isotope–temperature relationship. We find that NEEM records are only weakly affected by inter-annual changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation. Decadal δ18O and accumulation variability is related to North Atlantic sea surface temperature and is enhanced at the beginning of the 19th century. No long-term trend is observed in the accumulation record. By contrast, NEEM δ18O shows multidecadal increasing trends in the late 19th century and since the 1980s. The strongest annual positive δ18O values are recorded at NEEM in 1928 and 2010, while maximum accumulation occurs in 1933. The last decade is the most enriched in δ18O (warmest), while the 11-year periods with the strongest depletion (coldest) are depicted at NEEM in 1815–1825 and 1836–1846, which are also the driest 11-year periods. The NEEM accumulation and δ18O records are strongly correlated with outputs from atmospheric models, nudged to atmospheric reanalyses. Best performance is observed for ERA reanalyses. Gridded temperature reconstructions, instrumental data and model outputs at NEEM are used to estimate the multidecadal accumulation–temperature and δ18O–temperature relationships for the strong warming period in 1979–2007. The accumulation sensitivity to temperature is estimated at 11 ± 2 % °C−1 and the δ18O–temperature slope at 1.1 ± 0.2 ‰ °C−1, about twice as large as previously used to estimate last interglacial temperature change from the bottom part of the NEEM deep ice core. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison between observed and simulated aeolian snow mass fluxes in Adélie Land, East Antarctica
Amory, Charles; Trouvillez, A.; Gallée, H. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

The regional climate model MAR including a coupled snow pack/aeolian snow transport parameterisation is compared with aeolian snow mass fluxes at a fine spatial resolution (5 km horizontally and 2 m ... [more ▼]

The regional climate model MAR including a coupled snow pack/aeolian snow transport parameterisation is compared with aeolian snow mass fluxes at a fine spatial resolution (5 km horizontally and 2 m vertically) and at a fine temporal resolution (30 min) over 1 month in Antarctica. Numerous feedbacks are taken into account in the MAR including the drag partitioning caused by the roughness elements. Wind speed is correctly simulated with a positive value of the Nash test (0.60 and 0.37) but the wind speeds above 10 m s−1 are underestimated. The aeolian snow transport events are correctly reproduced with a good temporal resolution except for the aeolian snow transport events with a particles' maximum height below 1 m. The simulated threshold friction velocity, calculated without snowfall, is overestimated. The simulated aeolian snow mass fluxes between 0 to 2 m have the same variations but are underestimated compared to the second-generation FlowCapt values and so is the simulated relative humidity at 2 m. This underestimation is not entirely due to the underestimation of the simulated wind speed. The MAR underestimates the aeolian snow quantity that pass through the first two meters by a factor ten compared to the second-generation FlowCapt value (13 990 kg m−1 and 151 509 kg m−1 respectively). It will conduct the MAR, with this parametrisation, to underestimate the effect of the aeolian snow transport on the Antarctic surface mass balance. [less ▲]

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See detailFuture climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard glaciers in an RCP8.5 climate scenario: a study with the regional climate model MAR forced by MIROC5
Lang, Charlotte ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

We simulated the 21st century Svalbard SMB with the regional model MAR (RCP8.5 scenario). Melt is projected to increase gently up to 2050 and then dramatically increase, with a larger increase in the ... [more ▼]

We simulated the 21st century Svalbard SMB with the regional model MAR (RCP8.5 scenario). Melt is projected to increase gently up to 2050 and then dramatically increase, with a larger increase in the south of the archipelago. This difference is due to larger ice albedo decrease in the south causing larger increase of absorbed solar radiation. The ablation area is projected to disappear over the entire Svalbard by 2085. The SMB decrease compared to present is projected to contribute 7mm to SLR. [less ▲]

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See detailRecent summer Arctic atmospheric circulation anomalies in a historical perspective
Belleflamme, Alexandre ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

A significant increase in the summertime occurrence of a high pressure area over the Beaufort Sea, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland has been observed since the beginning of the 2000s, and ... [more ▼]

A significant increase in the summertime occurrence of a high pressure area over the Beaufort Sea, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland has been observed since the beginning of the 2000s, and particularly between 2007 and 2012. These circulation anomalies are likely partly responsible for the enhanced Greenland ice sheet melt as well as the Arctic sea ice loss observed since 2007. Therefore, it is interesting to analyse whether similar conditions might have happened since the late 19th century over the Arctic region. We have used an atmospheric circulation type classification based on daily mean sea level pressure and 500 hPa geopotential height data from five reanalysis data sets (ERA-Interim, ERA-40, NCEP/NCAR, ERA-20C, and 20CRv2) to put the recent circulation anomalies in perspective with the atmospheric circulation variability since 1871. We found that circulation conditions similar to 2007–2012 have occurred in the past, despite a higher uncertainty of the reconstructed circulation before 1940. For example, only ERA-20C shows circulation anomalies that could explain the 1920–1930 summertime Greenland warming, in contrast to 20CRv2. While the recent anomalies exceed by a factor of 2 the interannual variability of the atmospheric circulation of the Arctic region, their origin (natural variability or global warming) remains debatable. [less ▲]

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See detailStable climate and surface mass balance in Svalbard over 1979–2013 despite the Arctic warming
Lang, Charlotte ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Erpicum, Michel ULg

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

With the help of the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional) forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis (MARERA) and the MIROC5 (Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate) global model ... [more ▼]

With the help of the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional) forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis (MARERA) and the MIROC5 (Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate) global model (MARMIROC5) from the CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) database, we have modelled the climate and surface mass balance of Svalbard at a 10 km resolution over 1979–2013. The integrated total surface mass balance (SMB) over Svalbard modelled by MARERA is negative (−1.6 Gt yr−1) with a large interannual variability (7.1 Gt) but, unlike over Greenland, there has been no acceleration of the surface melt over the past 35 years because of the recent change in atmospheric circulation bringing northwesterly flows in summer over Svalbard, contrasting the recent observed Arctic warming. However, in 2013, the atmospheric circulation changed to a south–southwesterly flow over Svalbard causing record melt, SMB (−20.4 Gt yr−1) and summer temperature. MIROC5 is significantly colder than ERA-Interim over 1980–2005 but MARMIROC5 is able to improve the near-surface MIROC5 results by simulating not significant SMB differences with MARERA over 1980–2005. On the other hand, MIROC5 does not represent the recent atmospheric circulation shift in summer and induces in MARMIROC5 a significant trend of decreasing SMB (−0.6 Gt yr−2) over 1980–2005. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of the CMIP5 models in the aim of regional modelling of the Antarctic surface mass balance
Agosta, Cécile ULg; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Datta, Rajashree

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

The surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic Ice Sheet cannot be reliably deduced from global climate models (GCMs), both because their spatial resolution is insufficient and because their physics are ... [more ▼]

The surface mass balance (SMB) of the Antarctic Ice Sheet cannot be reliably deduced from global climate models (GCMs), both because their spatial resolution is insufficient and because their physics are not adapted for cold and snow-covered regions. By contrast, regional climate models (RCMs) adapted for polar regions can physically and dynamically downscale SMB components over the ice sheet using large-scale forcing at their boundaries. Polar-oriented RCMs require appropriate GCM fields for forcing because the response of the cryosphere to a warming climate is dependent on its initial state and is not linear with respect to temperature increase. In this context, we evaluate the current climate in 41 climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) data set over Antarctica by focusing on forcing fields which may have the greatest impact on SMB components simulated by RCMs. Our inter-comparison includes six reanalyses, among which ERA-Interim reanalysis is chosen as a reference over 1979–2014. Model efficiency is assessed taking into account the multi-decadal variability of the fields over the 1850–1980 period. We show that fewer than 10 CMIP5 models show reasonable biases compared to ERA-Interim, among which ACCESS1-3 is the most pertinent choice for forcing RCMs over Antarctica, followed by ACCESS1-0, CESM1-BGC, CESM1-CAM5, NorESM1-M, CCSM4 and EC-EARTH. Finally, climate change over the Southern Ocean in CMIP5 is less sensitive to the global warming signal than it is to the present-day simulated sea-ice extent and to the feedback between sea-ice decrease and air temperature increase around Antarctica. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing spatio-temporal variability and trends in modelled and measured Greenland Ice Sheet albedo (2000–2013)
Alexander, P.; Tedesco, M.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

Accurate measurements and simulations of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface albedo are essential, given the role of surface albedo in modulating the amount of absorbed solar radiation and meltwater ... [more ▼]

Accurate measurements and simulations of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) surface albedo are essential, given the role of surface albedo in modulating the amount of absorbed solar radiation and meltwater production. In this study, we assess the spatio-temporal variability of GrIS albedo during June, July, and August (JJA) for the period 2000–2013. We use two remote sensing products derived from data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), as well as outputs from the Modèle Atmosphérique Régionale (MAR) regional climate model (RCM) and data from in situ automatic weather stations. Our results point to an overall consistency in spatio-temporal variability between remote sensing and RCM albedo, but reveal a difference in mean albedo of up to ~0.08 between the two remote sensing products north of 70° N. At low elevations, albedo values simulated by the RCM are positively biased with respect to remote sensing products by up to ~0.1 and exhibit low variability compared with observations. We infer that these differences are the result of a positive bias in simulated bare ice albedo. MODIS albedo, RCM outputs, and in situ observations consistently indicate a decrease in albedo of −0.03 to −0.06 per decade over the period 2003–2013 for the GrIS ablation area. Nevertheless, satellite products show a decline in JJA albedo of −0.03 to −0.04 per decade for regions within the accumulation area that is not confirmed by either the model or in situ observations. These findings appear to contradict a previous study that found an agreement between in situ and MODIS trends for individual months. The results indicate a need for further evaluation of high elevation albedo trends, a reconciliation of MODIS mean albedo at high latitudes, and the importance of accurately simulating bare ice albedo in RCMs. [less ▲]

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See detailSensitivity of Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance to perturbations in sea surface temperature and sea ice cover: a study with the regional climate model MAR
Noel, Brice; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; van de Berg, W.J. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

During recent summers (2007–2012), several surface melt records were broken over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The extreme summer melt resulted in part from a persistent negative phase of the North ... [more ▼]

During recent summers (2007–2012), several surface melt records were broken over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The extreme summer melt resulted in part from a persistent negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), favoring warmer atmospheric conditions than normal over the GrIS. Simultaneously, large anomalies in sea ice cover (SIC) and sea surface temperature (SST) were observed in the North Atlantic, suggesting a possible connection. To assess the direct impact of 2007–2012 SIC and SST anomalies on GrIS surface mass balance (SMB), a set of sensitivity experiments was carried out with the regional climate model MAR forced by ERA-Interim. These simulations suggest that perturbations in SST and SIC in the seas surrounding Greenland do not considerably impact GrIS SMB, as a result of the katabatic wind blocking effect. These offshore-directed winds prevent oceanic near-surface air, influenced by SIC and SST anomalies, from penetrating far inland. Therefore, the ice sheet SMB response is restricted to coastal regions, where katabatic winds cease. A topic for further investigation is how anomalies in SIC and SST might have indirectly affected the surface melt by changing the general circulation in the North Atlantic region, hence favoring more frequent warm air advection towards the GrIS. [less ▲]

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See detailPhysical controls on the storage of methane in landfast sea ice
Zhou, Jiayun ULg; Tison, J.-L.; Carnat, G. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8(3), 1019-1029

We report on methane (CH4) dynamics in landfast sea ice, brine and under-ice seawater at Barrow in 2009. The CH4 concentrations in under-ice water ranged between 25.9 and 116.4 nmol L-1sw, indicating a ... [more ▼]

We report on methane (CH4) dynamics in landfast sea ice, brine and under-ice seawater at Barrow in 2009. The CH4 concentrations in under-ice water ranged between 25.9 and 116.4 nmol L-1sw, indicating a supersaturation of 700 to 3100 % relative to the atmosphere. In comparison, the CH4 concentrations in sea ice, ranged between 3.4 and 17.2 nmol L-1ice, and the deduced CH4 concentrations in brine, between 13.2 and 677.7 nmol L-1brine. We investigated on the processes explaining the difference in CH4 concentrations between sea ice, brine and the under-ice water, and suggest that biological controls on the storage of CH4 in ice was minor in comparison to the physical controls. Two physical processes regulated the storage of CH4 in our landfast ice samples: bubble formation within the ice and sea ice permeability. Gas bubble formation from solubility changes had favoured the accumulation of CH4 in the ice at the beginning of ice growth. CH4 retention in sea ice was then twice as efficient as that of salt; this also explains the overall higher CH4 concentrations in brine than in the under-ice water. As sea ice thickened, gas bubble formation became less efficient, CH4 was then mainly trapped in the dissolved state. The increase of sea ice permeability during ice melt marked the end of CH4 storage. [less ▲]

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See detailEffect of uncertainty in surface mass balance–elevation feedback on projections of the future sea level contribution of the Greenland ice sheet
Edwards, T.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Gagliardini, O. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

We apply a new parameterisation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) feedback between surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) and surface elevation in the MAR ... [more ▼]

We apply a new parameterisation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) feedback between surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) and surface elevation in the MAR regional climate model (Edwards et al., 2014) to projections of future climate change using five ice sheet models (ISMs). The MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional: Fettweis, 2007) climate projections are for 2000–2199, forced by the ECHAM5 and HadCM3 global climate models (GCMs) under the SRES A1B emissions scenario. The additional sea level contribution due to the SMB–elevation feedback averaged over five ISM projections for ECHAM5 and three for HadCM3 is 4.3% (best estimate; 95% credibility interval 1.8–6.9%) at 2100, and 9.6% (best estimate; 95% credibility interval 3.6–16.0%) at 2200. In all results the elevation feedback is significantly positive, amplifying the GrIS sea level contribution relative to the MAR projections in which the ice sheet topography is fixed: the lower bounds of our 95% credibility intervals (CIs) for sea level contributions are larger than the "no feedback" case for all ISMs and GCMs. Our method is novel in sea level projections because we propagate three types of modelling uncertainty – GCM and ISM structural uncertainties, and elevation feedback parameterisation uncertainty – along the causal chain, from SRES scenario to sea level, within a coherent experimental design and statistical framework. The relative contributions to uncertainty depend on the timescale of interest. At 2100, the GCM uncertainty is largest, but by 2200 both the ISM and parameterisation uncertainties are larger. We also perform a perturbed parameter ensemble with one ISM to estimate the shape of the projected sea level probability distribution; our results indicate that the probability density is slightly skewed towards higher sea level contributions. [less ▲]

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See detailProbabilistic parameterisation of the surface mass balance–elevation feedback in regional climate model simulations of the Greenland ice sheet
Edwards, T.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Gagliardini, O. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8

We present a new parameterisation that relates surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) to changes in surface elevation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) for the ... [more ▼]

We present a new parameterisation that relates surface mass balance (SMB: the sum of surface accumulation and surface ablation) to changes in surface elevation of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) for the MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional: Fettweis, 2007) regional climate model. The motivation is to dynamically adjust SMB as the GrIS evolves, allowing us to force ice sheet models with SMB simulated by MAR while incorporating the SMB–elevation feedback, without the substantial technical challenges of coupling ice sheet and climate models. This also allows us to assess the effect of elevation feedback uncertainty on the GrIS contribution to sea level, using multiple global climate and ice sheet models, without the need for additional, expensive MAR simulations. We estimate this relationship separately below and above the equilibrium line altitude (ELA, separating negative and positive SMB) and for regions north and south of 77° N, from a set of MAR simulations in which we alter the ice sheet surface elevation. These give four "SMB lapse rates", gradients that relate SMB changes to elevation changes. We assess uncertainties within a Bayesian framework, estimating probability distributions for each gradient from which we present best estimates and credibility intervals (CI) that bound 95% of the probability. Below the ELA our gradient estimates are mostly positive, because SMB usually increases with elevation: 0.56 (95% CI: −0.22 to 1.33) kg m−3 a−1 for the north, and 1.91 (1.03 to 2.61) kg m−3 a−1 for the south. Above the ELA, the gradients are much smaller in magnitude: 0.09 (−0.03 to 0.23) kg m−3 a−1 in the north, and 0.07 (−0.07 to 0.59) kg m−3 a−1 in the south, because SMB can either increase or decrease in response to increased elevation. [less ▲]

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See detailSea ice pCO2 dynamics and air–ice CO2 fluxes during the Sea Ice Mass Balance in the Antarctic (SIMBA) experiment – Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica
Geilfus, N.-X.; Tison, J.-L.; Ackley, S. F. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2014), 8(6), 2395--2407

Temporal evolution of pCO2 profiles in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica, in October 2007 shows physical and thermodynamic processes controls theCO2 sys- tem in the ice. During the survey ... [more ▼]

Temporal evolution of pCO2 profiles in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica, in October 2007 shows physical and thermodynamic processes controls theCO2 sys- tem in the ice. During the survey, cyclical warming and cool- ing strongly influenced the physical, chemical, and thermo- dynamic properties of the ice cover. Two sampling sites with contrasting characteristics of ice and snow thickness were sampled: one had little snow accumulation (from 8 to 25 cm) and larger temperature and salinity variations than the sec- ond site, where the snow cover was up to 38 cm thick and therefore better insulated the underlying sea ice. We show that each cooling/warming event was associated with an in- crease/decrease in the brine salinity, total alkalinity (TA), to- tal dissolved inorganic carbon (TCO2), and in situ brine and bulk ice CO2 partial pressures (pCO2). Thicker snow covers reduced the amplitude of these changes: snow cover influ- ences the sea ice carbonate system by modulating the temper- ature and therefore the salinity of the sea ice cover. Results indicate that pCO2 was undersaturated with respect to the at- mosphere both in the in situ bulk ice (from 10 to 193 µatm) and brine (from 65 to 293 µatm), causing the sea ice to act as a sink for atmospheric CO2 (up to 2.9mmolm−2 d−1), despite supersaturation of the underlying seawater (up to 462 µatm) [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence and analysis of 2012 Greenland records from spaceborne observations, a regional climate model and reanalysis data
Tedesco, M.; Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Mote, T. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

A combined analysis of remote sensing observations, regional climate model (RCM) outputs and reanalysis data over the Greenland ice sheet provides evidence that multiple records were set during summer ... [more ▼]

A combined analysis of remote sensing observations, regional climate model (RCM) outputs and reanalysis data over the Greenland ice sheet provides evidence that multiple records were set during summer 2012. Melt extent was the largest in the satellite era (extending up to ∼97% of the ice sheet) and melting lasted up to ∼2 months longer than the 1979–2011 mean. Model results indicate that near surface temperature was ∼3 standard deviations (σ) above the 1958–2011 mean, while surface mass balance (SMB) was ∼3σ below the mean and runoff was 3.9σ above the mean over the same period. Albedo, exposure of bare ice and surface mass balance also set new records, as did the total mass balance with summer and annual mass changes of, respectively, −627 Gt and −574 Gt, 2σ below the 2003–2012 mean. We identify persistent anticyclonic conditions over Greenland associated with anomalies in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), changes in surface conditions (e.g., albedo, surface temperature) and preconditioning of surface properties from recent extreme melting as major driving mechanisms for the 2012 records. Less positive if not increasingly negative SMB will likely occur should these characteristics persist. [less ▲]

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See detailSurface mass balance model intercomparison for the Greenland ice sheet
Vernon, C.L.; Bamber, J.L.; Box, J.E. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

A number of high resolution reconstructions of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) have been produced using global re-analyses data extending back to 1958. These ... [more ▼]

A number of high resolution reconstructions of the surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) have been produced using global re-analyses data extending back to 1958. These reconstructions have been used in a variety of applications but little is known about their consistency with each other and the impact of the downscaling method on the result. Here, we compare four reconstructions for the period 1960–2008 to assess the consistency in regional, seasonal and integrated SMB components. Total SMB estimates for the GrIS are in agreement within 34% of the four model average when a common ice sheet mask is used. When models' native land/ice/sea masks are used this spread increases to 57%. Variation in the spread of components of SMB from their mean: runoff 42% (29% native masks), precipitation 20% (24% native masks), melt 38% (74% native masks), refreeze 83% (142% native masks) show, with the exception of refreeze, a similar level of agreement once a common mask is used. Previously noted differences in the models' estimates are partially explained by ice sheet mask differences. Regionally there is less agreement, suggesting spatially compensating errors improve the integrated estimates. Modelled SMB estimates are compared with in situ observations from the accumulation and ablation areas. Agreement is higher in the accumulation area than the ablation area suggesting relatively high uncertainty in the estimation of ablation processes. Since the mid-1990s each model estimates a decreasing annual SMB. A similar period of decreasing SMB is also estimated for the period 1960–1972. The earlier decrease is due to reduced precipitation with runoff remaining unchanged, however, the recent decrease is associated with increased precipitation, now more than compensated for by increased melt driven runoff. Additionally, in three of the four models the equilibrium line altitude has risen since the mid-1990s, reducing the accumulation area at a rate of approximately 60 000 km2 per decade due to increased melting. Improving process representation requires further study but the use of a single accurate ice sheet mask is a logical way to reduce uncertainty among models. [less ▲]

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See detailEstimating the Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance contribution to future sea level rise using the regional atmospheric climate model MAR
Fettweis, Xavier ULg; Franco, Bruno ULg; Tedesco, M. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2013), 7

To estimate the sea level rise (SLR) originating from changes in surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), we present 21st century climate projections obtained with the regional ... [more ▼]

To estimate the sea level rise (SLR) originating from changes in surface mass balance (SMB) of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS), we present 21st century climate projections obtained with the regional climate model MAR (Modèle Atmosphérique Régional), forced by output of three CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) general circulation models (GCMs). Our results indicate that in a warmer climate, mass gain from increased winter snowfall over the GrIS does not compensate mass loss through increased meltwater run-off in summer. Despite the large spread in the projected near-surface warming, all the MAR projections show similar non-linear increase of GrIS surface melt volume because no change is projected in the general atmospheric circulation over Greenland. By coarsely estimating the GrIS SMB changes from GCM output, we show that the uncertainty from the GCM-based forcing represents about half of the projected SMB changes. In 2100, the CMIP5 ensemble mean projects a GrIS SMB decrease equivalent to a mean SLR of +4 ± 2 cm and +9 ± 4 cm for the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathways) 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios respectively. These estimates do not consider the positive melt–elevation feedback, although sensitivity experiments using perturbed ice sheet topographies consistent with the projected SMB changes demonstrate that this is a significant feedback, and highlight the importance of coupling regional climate models to an ice sheet model. Such a coupling will allow the assessment of future response of both surface processes and ice-dynamic changes to rising temperatures, as well as their mutual feedbacks. [less ▲]

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