EGU23-13350, updated on 07 Aug 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Large effects of ocean circulation change on Greenland ice sheet mass loss

Miren Vizcaino1, Julia Rudlang1, Laura Muntjewerf1,2, Sotiria Georgiou1, Raymond Sellevold1, and Michele Petrini1,3
Miren Vizcaino et al.
  • 1Delft University of Technology, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft, Netherlands (
  • 2Royal Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Netherlands
  • 3Norwegian Research Centre NORCE, Norway

The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is currently losing mass at an accelerated rate, due to atmospheric and ocean warming causing respectively enhanced melt and ice discharge to the ocean. A large part of the uncertainty on future GrIS contribution to sea level rise relates to unknown atmospheric and ocean circulation change. For the later, AR6 models project a weakening of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (NAMOC) during the 21st century. The magnitude of this weakening depends on the greenhouse gas scenario and model, but none of the models project a complete collapse.

Projections of future GrIS evolution in the last IPCC report AR6 are mostly based on simulations with ice sheet models forced with the output of climate models (e.g., Goelzer et al. (2020)). This method permits large ensembles of simulations, however the coupling between climate and GrIS is not represented. Here, we use a coupled Earth System and Ice Sheet Model (ESM-ISM), the CESM2-CISM2 (Muntjewerf et al. 2021) to examine the multi-millennial evolution of the GrIS surface mass balance for a middle-of-the-road CO2 scenario. The model couples realistic simulation of global climate (Danabasoglu et al. 2020), surface processes (van Kampenhout et al. 2020) and ice dynamics (Lipscomb et al. 2019). We use an idealized scenario of 1% CO2 increase until stabilization at two times pre-industrial values.  compare our results with pre-industrial and 1% to 4xCO2 simulations (Muntjewerf et al. 2020).

We find small increases and even reduction of annual temperatures in the GrIS area in connection with strong NAMOC weakening in the first two centuries of simulation. Summer temperatures and surface melt increase moderately with respect to pre-industrial. From simulation year 500, the NAMOC recovers, resulting in strong increases in GrIS melt rates and contribution to sea level rise. We compare the deglaciation pattern over a period of 3,000 years with deglaciation simulations with the same model for the last interglacial (Sommers et al. 2021).


How to cite: Vizcaino, M., Rudlang, J., Muntjewerf, L., Georgiou, S., Sellevold, R., and Petrini, M.: Large effects of ocean circulation change on Greenland ice sheet mass loss, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13350,, 2023.