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The importance of geothermal heat flux in modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet


Phipps, S and Halpin, J, The importance of geothermal heat flux in modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, Geophysical Research Abstracts, 04-13 April 2018, Vienna, Austria, pp. 11314. ISSN 1607-7962 (2018) [Conference Extract]

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Ice sheet models are the only physically-based tools that allow us to simulate the future evolution of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, including its contribution towards changes in global sea level. However, due to limitations in our understanding of ice sheet dynamics, modelling is an inherently uncertain exercise. A typical approach towards optimising ice sheet models is to "tune" key physical parameters by finding the values that give the most realistic simulations of the present-day ice sheet, based on criteria such as ice sheet geometry or ice velocity. However, this approach assumes that there are no errors in the boundary conditions being used to drive the models.

Here, we use the Parallel Ice Sheet Model to explore the sensitivity of the simulated Antarctic Ice Sheet to the available geothermal heat flux (GHF) datasets. We find that the choice of GHF is a significant source of uncertainty, leading to basin-wide differences in excess of 1000m in the simulated ice thickness. Using different GHF datasets to drive the model, we then "tune" it by determining the optimal values of key physical parameters. We show that the parameter combinations obtained are sensitive to the choice of GHF.

Our results highlight the importance of GHF in ice sheet modelling. Reliable GHF estimates are critical to optimising numerical models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and, therefore, to reducing uncertainty in projections of future global sea level rise.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Antarctica, geothermal heat flux, ice sheet modelling
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Glaciology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Phipps, S (Dr Steven Phipps)
UTAS Author:Halpin, J (Dr Jacqueline Halpin)
ID Code:131225
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2019-03-06
Last Modified:2019-03-07

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