Retreat and Regrowth of the Greenland Ice Sheet During the Last Interglacial as Simulated by the CESM2-CISM2 Coupled Climate–Ice Sheet Model

Aleah N. Sommers, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, William H. Lipscomb, Marcus Lofverstrom, Sarah L. Shafer, Patrick J. Bartlein, Esther C. Brady, Erik Kluzek, Gunter Leguy, Katherine Thayer-Calder, Robert A. Tomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During the Last Interglacial, approximately 129 to 116 ka (thousand years ago), the Arctic summer climate was warmer than the present, and the Greenland Ice Sheet retreated to a smaller extent than its current state. Previous model-derived and geological reconstruction estimates of the sea-level contribution of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the Last Interglacial vary widely. Here, we conduct a transient climate simulation from 127 to 119 ka using the Community Earth System Model (CESM2), which includes a dynamic ice sheet component (the Community Ice Sheet Model, CISM2) that is interactively coupled to the atmosphere, land, ocean, and sea ice components. Vegetation distribution is updated every 500 years based on biomes simulated using a monthly climatology to force the BIOME4 equilibrium vegetation model. Results show a substantial retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet, reaching a minimum extent at 121.9 ka, equivalent to a 3.0 m rise in sea level relative to the present day, followed by gradual regrowth. In contrast, a companion simulation employing static vegetation based on pre-industrial conditions shows a much smaller ice-sheet retreat, highlighting the importance of the changes in high-latitude vegetation distribution for amplifying the ice-sheet response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021PA004272
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Volume36
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Arctic
  • BIOME4
  • CESM
  • CISM
  • Eemian
  • Greenland
  • Last Interglacial
  • climate modeling
  • ice sheet
  • land-surface feedback
  • paleoclimate
  • sea level
  • vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Palaeontology

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