EGU24-4035, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The past and projected future freshwater flux from Arctic land ice

Jonathan Bamber1,2, Zelu Zhang1, and Adam Igneczi1
Jonathan Bamber et al.
  • 1University of Bristol, School of Geographical Sciences, Bristol, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Technical University Munich, Dept of Aerospace and Geodesy, Munich, Germany

We have developed a freshwater flux (FWF) time series aimed at providing a benchmark data set for testing the sensitivity of ocean and coupled GCMs to realistic, plausible future FWF forcing alongside a 70 year reconstruction of past fluxes. Here we build on previous work that reconstructed the freshwater flux (FWF) from Arctic glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet from reanalysis (Bamber et al., 2018). First, we use ERA5 reanalyses, a regional climate model and satellite observations to reconstruct the FWF for all Arctic land ice from 1950-2021, partitioned into solid and liquid phases around the coastline of glaciated sectors of the Arctic. We then project the FWF forward until 2100 using estimates of Greenland Ice Sheet melt derived from a structured expert judgement assessment for two temperature scenarios that approximate business as usual and a Paris Agreement limit to warming (Bamber et al., 2019; Bamber et al., 2022). Fluxes from glaciers and ice caps (GIC) are derived from GIC projections for equivalent temperature scenarios. We develop projections for both the median and 95th percentile melt estimates to provide FWF forcing that encompasses the plausible future range from Arctic land ice. To achieve this, we assumed a linear increase in mass loss from 2021 onward such that the integral up to 2100 matches the estimates in the structured expert analysis. The geographic distribution of melt anomalies are scaled according to present-day anomalies in runoff and solid ice discharge from the ice sheet. For the high end case (business as usual, 95th percentile) this equates to a FWF anomaly from the Greenland Ice Sheet of about 0.16 Sv by mid century and 0.3 Sv by 2100, representing an unlikely but plausible FWF entering, primarily, the sub-polar North Atlantic.


Bamber, J. L., M. Oppenheimer, R. E. Kopp, W. P. Aspinall, and R. M. Cooke (2019), Ice sheet contributions to future sea-level rise from structured expert judgment, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 116(23), 11195-11200, doi:10.1073/pnas.1817205116.

Bamber, J. L., M. Oppenheimer, R. E. Kopp, W. P. Aspinall, and R. M. Cooke (2022), Ice Sheet and Climate Processes Driving the Uncertainty in Projections of Future Sea Level Rise: Findings From a Structured Expert Judgement Approach, Earth's Future, 10(10), e2022EF002772, doi:

Bamber, J. L., A. J. Tedstone, M. D. King, I. M. Howat, E. M. Enderlin, M. R. van den Broeke, and B. Noel (2018), Land Ice Freshwater Budget of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans: 1. Data, Methods, and Results, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123(3), 1827-1837, doi:10.1002/2017jc013605.


How to cite: Bamber, J., Zhang, Z., and Igneczi, A.: The past and projected future freshwater flux from Arctic land ice, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-4035,, 2024.

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