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

Tipping Points in the Amundsen Sea Sector, a comparison between 2D and 3D ice-sheet models

Cyrille Mosbeux, Olivier Gagliardini, Nicolas Jourdain, Benoit Urruty, Mondher Chekki, Fabien Gillet-Chaulet, and Gael Durand
Cyrille Mosbeux et al.
  • Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France

Ice mass loss from Antarctic Ice Sheet is increasing, accelerating its contribution to global sea level rise. Interactions between the ice shelves (the floating portions of the ice sheet that buttress the grounded ice) and the ocean are key processes in this mass loss. The most rapid recent observed mass loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet is in the Amundsen Sea, where buttressing is declining as small ice shelves are being thinned rapidly by melting driven by inflows of warm Circumpolar Deep Water, leading to important grounding line retreats. Recent research indicates that ice sheets, especially the parts that rest on a bed below sea level such as most of the Amundsen sector, are particularly prone to an unstable and irreversible retreat that might lead to an important and fast global sea level rise.

As part of the European Horizon 2020 research project TiPACCs that assesses the possibility of near-future irreversible changes, so-called tipping points, in the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Ice Sheet, we conduct numerical simulations perturbating the current conditions of the ice-ocean system in the Amundsen Sea Sector. More particularly, we use the Stokes flow formulation of the open-source ice flow model Elmer/Ice, forced with melt parametrization under the ice shelves to determine the effect of ocean warming on the ice-sheet evolution –eventually looking for the existence of future tipping points in the region. Since 3D-Stokes models can be numerically expensive, using the same Elmer/Ice framework (datasets, ocean and climate forcing), we compare our results to the more efficient but sometimes less accurate 2D-shallow–shelf(y)-Approximation (SSA). This methodology allows us to entangle the differences between the two models and better constrain the uncertainty linked to TiPACCs pan-Antarctic simulations based on the SSA.

How to cite: Mosbeux, C., Gagliardini, O., Jourdain, N., Urruty, B., Chekki, M., Gillet-Chaulet, F., and Durand, G.: Tipping Points in the Amundsen Sea Sector, a comparison between 2D and 3D ice-sheet models, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9235,, 2022.