Coupled marine-ice-sheet/Earth dynamics using a dynamically consistent ice-sheet model and a self-gravitating viscous Earth model
We use a self-gravitating viscoelastic model of the Earth and a dynamically consistent marine ice-sheet model to study the relationships between marine ice-sheet dynamics, relative sea level, basal topography and bedrock dynamics. Our main conclusion is that sea-level change and lithospheric coupling are likely to have played limited roles in the postglacial retreat of marine ice sheets. The postglacial rise in sea level would only have caused at the most around 100 km of grounding-line retreat for an ice sheet of similar dimensions to the West Antarctic ice sheet, compared with the several hundred km of retreat which has occurred in the Ross Sea. There is no evidence that reverse slopes lead to instability. Incorporating coupling with lithospheric dynamics does not produce markedly different effects. The implication of these studies is that marine ice-sheet retreat is the result of physical mechanisms other than lithospheric coupling and sea-level rise.