Effect of the potential melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet on the Meridional Overturning Circulation and global climate in the future

Aixue Hu, Gerald A. Meehl, Weiqing Han, Jianjun Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Multiple recent observations indicate an accelerated mass loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet since the mid-1990s. This increased ice sheet mass loss might be an evidence of global warming and could be related to elevated atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Here, we use the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model version 3 to assess the potential influence of a shrinking Greenland Ice Sheet on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC), the surface climate, and sea level in the next two centuries under the IPCC A1B scenario with prescribed rates of Greenland Ice Sheet melting. Results show that a low rate of Greenland melting will not significantly alter the MOC. However a moderate or high rate of Greenland melting does make the MOC weaken further. This further weakened MOC will not make the global climate in the next two centuries cooler than in the late 20th century, but will lessen the warming, especially in the northern high latitudes. Moreover, the sea level changes due to steric effect and ocean dynamics could potentially aggravate the sea level problem near the northeast North America coast and the islands in the western Pacific region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1914-1926
Number of pages13
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume58
Issue number17-18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

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meridional circulation
ice sheet
global climate
melting
sea level
atmospheric gas
climate
sea level change
global warming
greenhouse gas
warming
effect
coast
ocean
rate
loss

Keywords

  • Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
  • Global temperature change
  • Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Sea level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography

Cite this

Effect of the potential melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet on the Meridional Overturning Circulation and global climate in the future. / Hu, Aixue; Meehl, Gerald A.; Han, Weiqing; Yin, Jianjun.

In: Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Vol. 58, No. 17-18, 09.2011, p. 1914-1926.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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