The impact of Greenland melt on local sea levels: A partially coupled analysis of dynamic and static equilibrium effects in idealized water-hosing experiments

Robert E. Kopp, Jerry X. Mitrovica, Stephen M. Griffies, Jianjun Yin, Carling C. Hay, Ronald J. Stouffer

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

85 Scopus citations


Local sea level can deviate from mean global sea level because of both dynamic sea level (DSL) effects, resulting from oceanic and atmospheric circulation and temperature and salinity distributions, and changes in the static equilibrium (SE) sea level configuration, produced by the gravitational, elastic, and rotational effects of mass redistribution. Both effects will contribute to future sea level change. To compare their magnitude, we simulated the effects of Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) melt by conducting idealized North Atlantic "water-hosing" experiments in a climate model unidirectionally coupled to a SE sea level model. At current rates of GIS melt, we find that geographic SE patterns should be challenging but possible to detect above dynamic variability. At higher melt rates, we find that DSL trends are strongest in the western North Atlantic, while SE effects will dominate in most of the ocean when melt exceeds ~20 cm equivalent sea level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

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