EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Effects of extreme melt events on the Greenland ice sheet

Johanna Beckmann1 and Ricarda Winkelmann1,2
Johanna Beckmann and Ricarda Winkelmann
  • 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research,Potsdam, Germany,
  • 2Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

Over the past decade, Greenland has experienced several extreme melt events, the most pronounced ones in the years 2010, 2012 and 2019. With progressing climate change, such extreme melt events can be expected to occur more frequently and potentially become more severe. So far, however, projections of ice loss and sea-level change from Greenland typically rely on scenarios that only take gradual changes in the climate into account. 
Here we investigate the effect of extreme melt events on the ice dynamics and overall mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM). While the extremes generally lead to thinning of the ice sheet by enhanced melting, they partly also decrease the overall ice surface velocities due to a reduced driving gradient. In our simulations, we find that taking extreme events into account leads to additional ice loss compared to the baseline scenario without extremes. We find that the sea-level contribution from Greenland could increase by up to 45 cm by the year 2300 if severe extreme events are considered in future projections. We conclude that both changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme events need to be taken into account when projecting the future sea-level contribution from the Greenland Ice Sheet.

How to cite: Beckmann, J. and Winkelmann, R.: Effects of extreme melt events on the Greenland ice sheet, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11407,, 2022.


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