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  Critical slowing down suggests that the western Greenland Ice Sheet is close to a tipping point

Boers, N., Rypdal, M. (2021): Critical slowing down suggests that the western Greenland Ice Sheet is close to a tipping point. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 118, 21, e2024192118.
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2024192118

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Item Permalink: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25684 Version Permalink: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25684_3
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Boers, Niklas1, Author              
Rypdal, Martin2, Author
Affiliations:
1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, ou_persistent13              
2External Organizations, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: critical slowing down; early-warning signals; tipping points; Greenland Ice Sheet
 Abstract: The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is a potentially unstable component of the Earth system and may exhibit a critical transition under ongoing global warming. Mass reductions of the GrIS have substantial impacts on global sea level and the speed of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, due to the additional freshwater caused by increased meltwater runoff into the northern Atlantic. The stability of the GrIS depends crucially on the positive melt-elevation feedback (MEF), by which melt rates increase as the overall ice sheet height decreases under rising temperatures. Melting rates across Greenland have accelerated nonlinearly in recent decades, and models predict a critical temperature threshold beyond which the current ice sheet state is not maintainable. Here, we investigate long-term melt rate and ice sheet height reconstructions from the central-western GrIS in combination with model simulations to quantify the stability of this part of the GrIS. We reveal significant early-warning signals (EWS) indicating that the central-western GrIS is close to a critical transition. By relating the statistical EWS to underlying physical processes, our results suggest that the MEF plays a dominant role in the observed, ongoing destabilization of the central-western GrIS. Our results suggest substantial further GrIS mass loss in the near future and call for urgent, observation-constrained stability assessments of other parts of the GrIS.

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 Dates: 2021-05-172021-05-172021-06-12
 Publication Status: Finally published
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2024192118
PIKDOMAIN: RD4 - Complexity Science
Organisational keyword: RD4 - Complexity Science
Research topic keyword: Ice
Research topic keyword: Sea-level Rise
Research topic keyword: Tipping Elements
Regional keyword: Arctic & Antarctica
Model / method: Nonlinear Data Analysis
Research topic keyword: Nonlinear Dynamics
MDB-ID: No data to archive
 Degree: -

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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
Source Genre: Journal, SCI, Scopus, p3
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 118 (21) Sequence Number: e2024192118 Start / End Page: - Identifier: CoNE: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/cone/journals/resource/journals410