08 Jan 2024
 | 08 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Responses of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers to Melt and Sliding Parameterizations

Ian Joughin, Daniel Shapero, and Pierre Dutrieux

Abstract. Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are the two largest contributors to sea level rise from Antarctica. Here we examine the influence of basal friction and melt in determining projected losses. We examine both Weertman and Coulomb friction laws with explicit weakening as the ice thins to flotation, which many friction laws include implicitly via the effective pressure. We find relatively small differences with the choice of friction law (Weertman or Coulomb) but find losses are highly sensitive to the rate at which the basal traction is reduced as the area above the grounding line thins. Consistent with earlier work on Pine Island Glacier, we find sea level contributions from both glaciers vary linearly with the melt volume averaged over time and space, with little influence from the spatial or temporal distribution of melt. Based on recent estimates of melt from other studies, our work simulations suggest that melt-driven combined sea-level rise contribution from both glaciers is unlikely to exceed 10 cm by 2200. We do not include other factors, such as ice shelf breakup that might increase loss, nor factors such as increased accumulation and isostatic uplift that may mitigate loss.

Ian Joughin, Daniel Shapero, and Pierre Dutrieux

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Ian Joughin, Daniel Shapero, and Pierre Dutrieux
Ian Joughin, Daniel Shapero, and Pierre Dutrieux


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Short summary
Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are losing ice to the ocean rapidly as warmer water melts their floating ice shelves. Models help determine how much such glaciers will contribute to sea level. We find that ice loss varies in direct proportion to how much melting the ice shelves are subjected to. Our estimated losses are sensitive to how much the friction beneath the glacier is reduced before it goes afloat. These glaciers should increase sea level by less than 10 cm in the next 200 years.