Sea-ice feedbacks influence the isotopic signature of Greenland Ice Sheet elevation changes: Last Interglacial HadCM3 simulations [in review]

Changes in the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) affect global sea level. Greenland stable water isotope (δ18O) records from ice cores offer information on past changes in the surface of the GIS. Here, we use the isotope-enabled HadCM3 climate model to simulate a set of Last Interglacial (LIG) idealised GIS surface elevation change scenarios focusing on GIS ice core sites. We investigate how δ18O depends on the magnitude and sign of GIS elevation change and evaluate how the response is altered by sea ice changes. We find that modifying GIS elevation induces changes in Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation, sea ice and precipitation patterns. These climate feedbacks lead to ice core-averaged isotopic lapse rates of 0.49 ‰ per 100 m for the lowered GIS states and 0.29 ‰ per 100 m for the enlarged GIS states. This is lower than the spatially derived Greenland lapse rates of 0.62–0.72 ‰ per 100 m. These results thus suggest non-linearities in the isotope-elevation relationship, and have consequences for the interpretation of past elevation and climate changes across Greenland. In particular, our results suggest that winter sea ice changes may significantly influence isotopic-elevation gradients: winter sea ice effect can decrease (increase) modelled core-averaged isotopic lapse rate values by about -19 % (and +28 %) for the lowered (enlarged) GIS states respectively. The largest influence of sea ice on δ18O changes is found in coastal regions like the Camp Century site.


Publication status:
Published Online
Authors: Malmierca-Vallet, Irene, Sime, Louise C. ORCIDORCID record for Louise C. Sime, Valdes, Paul J., Tindall, Julia C.

On this site: Irene Malmierca Vallet, Louise Sime
24 March, 2020
Climate of the Past: Discussions
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