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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 1
Clim. Past, 9, 353–366, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS): 2012...

Clim. Past, 9, 353–366, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 12 Feb 2013

Research article | 12 Feb 2013

Greenland ice sheet contribution to sea level rise during the last interglacial period: a modelling study driven and constrained by ice core data

A. Quiquet1,*, C. Ritz1, H. J. Punge2,**, and D. Salas y Mélia3 A. Quiquet et al.
  • 1UJF – Grenoble 1/CNRS, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE), UMR5183, Grenoble, 38041, France
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE)/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, UMR8212, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3CNRM-GAME, URA CNRS-Météo-France 1357, Toulouse, France
  • *now at: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • **now at: Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. As pointed out by the forth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC-AR4 (Meehl et al., 2007), the contribution of the two major ice sheets, Antarctica and Greenland, to global sea level rise, is a subject of key importance for the scientific community. By the end of the next century, a 3–5 °C warming is expected in Greenland. Similar temperatures in this region were reached during the last interglacial (LIG) period, 130–115 ka BP, due to a change in orbital configuration rather than to an anthropogenic forcing. Ice core evidence suggests that the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) survived this warm period, but great uncertainties remain about the total Greenland ice reduction during the LIG. Here we perform long-term simulations of the GIS using an improved ice sheet model. Both the methodologies chosen to reconstruct palaeoclimate and to calibrate the model are strongly based on proxy data. We suggest a relatively low contribution to LIG sea level rise from Greenland melting, ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 m of sea level equivalent, contrasting with previous studies. Our results suggest an important contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to the LIG highstand.

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