10 Nov 2023
 | 10 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Biases in ice sheet models from missing noise-induced drift

Alexander Robel, Vincent Verjans, and Aminat Ambelorun

Abstract. Most climatic and glaciological processes exhibit internal variability, which is omitted from many ice sheet model simulations. Prior studies have found that climatic variability can change ice sheet mean state. We show in this study that variability in frontal ablation of marine-terminating glaciers changes the mean state of the Greenland Ice Sheet through noise-induced drift. Idealized simulations and theory show that noise-induced bifurcations and nonlinearities in variable ice sheet processes are likely the cause of the noise-induced drift in marine ice sheet dynamics. The lack of such noise-induced drift in spinup and transient ice sheet simulations is a potentially omnipresent source of bias in ice sheet models.

Alexander Robel et al.

Status: open (until 26 Dec 2023)

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Alexander Robel et al.

Alexander Robel et al.


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Short summary
The average size of many glaciers and ice sheets changes when noise is added to the system. The reasons for this "drift" in glacier state is intrinsic to the dynamics of how ice flows and the bumpiness of the Earth's surface. We argue that not including noise in projections of ice sheet evolution over coming decades and centuries is a pervasive source of bias in these computer models, and so realistic variability in glacier and climate processes must be included in models.