EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Reconstructing the Greenland ice sheet in past warm climates

Christine S. Hvidberg1, Mikkel Lauritzen1, Nicholas M. Rathmann1, Anne M. Solgaard2, and Dorthe Dahl-Jensen1
Christine S. Hvidberg et al.
  • 1Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (
  • 2Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark

The stability of the Greenland ice sheet through past glacial-interglacial cycles provides knowledge that can contribute to understanding the future mass loss and contribution to sea level from the Greenland ice sheet in a warmer climate. Paleo-climatic records from ice cores provide constraints on the past climate and ice sheet thickness in Greenland through the current interglacial, the Holocene, 11.7 kyr to present, but is limited to a few ice cores from the central areas. In the previous interglacial period, the Eemian, 130 kyr to 110 kyr before present, the ice core constraints are sparse, and beyond the Eemian, the climate evolution is known from Antarctic ice cores and marine sediments. The limited constraints on the past climate in Greenland presents a challenge for reconstructions based on ice flow modelling. Here we present initial results from an ice flow modelling study using the PISM ice flow model to simulate the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet in the Eemian and the Holocene periods. We discuss how paleo-climatic data from ice cores and marine sediments can be combined with ice flow modelling. We find that the Greenland ice sheet retreated to a minimum volume of up to ∼1.2 m sea-level equivalent smaller than present in the early or mid-Holocene, and that the ice sheet has continued to recover from this minimum up to present day. In all our runs, the ice sheet is approaching a steady state at the end of the 20th century. Our studies show that the Greenland ice sheet evolves in response to climate variations on shorter and longer timescales, and that assessment of future mass loss must take into account the history and current state.

How to cite: Hvidberg, C. S., Lauritzen, M., Rathmann, N. M., Solgaard, A. M., and Dahl-Jensen, D.: Reconstructing the Greenland ice sheet in past warm climates, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-14088,, 2023.