EGU24-8397, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

AMOC Stability amid Tipping Ice Sheets from Conceptual to Intermediate Complexity Models

Sacha Sinet1,2, Anna S. von der Heydt1,2, Peter Ashwin3, and Henk A. Dijkstra1,2
Sacha Sinet et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 2Centre for Complex Systems Studies, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Exeter, United Kingdom

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and polar ice sheets are considered susceptible to critical transitions under climate change. Identified as core tipping elements, their collapse would have global and drastic consequences. Furthermore, the AMOC and polar ice sheets form a complex interacting system, where the collapse of one component can heavily impact the stability of others. In the worst case, this could result in a large-scale domino effect, otherwise known as a cascading tipping event.

In this presentation, our focus is on assessing the stability of the AMOC in the presence of tipping Greenland ice sheet (GIS) and West Antarctica ice sheet (WAIS). While most existing studies agree on the destabilizing impact of a GIS collapse on the AMOC, the consequences of a WAIS collapse remain uncertain. A previous conceptual study suggested that a WAIS tipping event might actually prevent an AMOC collapse against both climate warming and increased GIS meltwater fluxes. Using a better conceptual model of the AMOC, we demonstrate that both the melting rate and natural variability associated with surface meltwater fluxes are decisive factors for this phenomenon to occur. Finally, we present preliminary findings in which the relevance of this stabilizing effect is investigated in the model of intermediate complexity CLIMBER-X.

How to cite: Sinet, S., von der Heydt, A. S., Ashwin, P., and Dijkstra, H. A.: AMOC Stability amid Tipping Ice Sheets from Conceptual to Intermediate Complexity Models, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-8397,, 2024.

Comments on the supplementary material

AC: Author Comment | CC: Community Comment | Report abuse

supplementary materials version 1 – uploaded on 22 Apr 2024, no comments