Surface melt and runoff on Antarctic ice shelves at 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C of future warming
The future surface mass balance (SMB) of Antarctic ice shelves has not been constrained with models of sufficient resolution and complexity. Here, we force the high‐resolution Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR) with future simulations from four CMIP models to evaluate the likely effects on the SMB of warming of 1.5°C, 2°C and 4°C above pre‐industrial temperatures. We find non‐linear growth in melt and runoff which causes SMB to become less positive with more pronounced warming. Consequently, Antarctic ice shelves may be more likely to contribute indirectly to sea level rise via hydrofracturing‐induced collapse, which facilitates accelerated glacial discharge. Using runoff and melt as indicators of ice shelf stability, we find that several Antarctic ice shelves (Larsen C, Wilkins, Pine Island and Shackleton) are vulnerable to disintegration at 4°C. Limiting 21st century warming to 2°C will halve the ice shelf area susceptible to hydrofracturing‐induced collapse compared to 4°C.
Authors: Gilbert, E. ORCID record for E. Gilbert, Kittel, C.