Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC

J.L. Bamber, E. Behrens, C. Boening, M. van den Broeke, J. Lenaerts, J. Ettema, E. Rignot

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

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Abstract

Freshwater (FW) fluxes from river runoff and precipitation minus evaporation for the pan Arctic seas are relatively well documented and prescribed in ocean GCMs. Fluxes from Greenland on the other hand are generally ignored altogether, despite their potential impacts on ocean circulation and marine biology. Here, we present a reconstruction of the spatially distributed FW flux from Greenland for 1958-2010. We find a modest increase into the Arctic Ocean during this period. Fluxes into the Irminger Basin, however, have increased by fifty percent (6.30.5 km^3 yr-2) in less than twenty years. This greatly exceeds previous estimates. For the ice sheet as a whole the rate of increase since 1992 is 16.91.8 km^3 yr-2, which is eight times larger than the long term trend for Eurasian rivers.

To investigate the impact on ocean dynamics, we force an eddy-permitting global ocean-sea ice model with the FW flux anomalies extended to 2020 based on current trends. Upon invading the surface waters of the subpolar North Atlantic, the additional FW leads to a gradual suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, inducing a ten percent weakening of the large-scale meridional overturning circulation. Surface salinity in Baffin Bay is reduced as FW accumulates in the region before being advected by an outflow by the shallow Labrador Current along the continental slope. The FW then begins to spread over the surface waters of the interior Subpolar North Atlantic. Our results suggest that the trends in Greenland FW fluxes in the last twenty years have already begun to significantly influence the circulation and hydrography of the North Atlantic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2012
EventEGU General Assembly 2012 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 22 Apr 201227 Apr 2012

Conference

ConferenceEGU General Assembly 2012
CountryAustria
CityVienna
Period22/04/1227/04/12

Fingerprint

ice sheet
melting
surface water
hydrography
meridional circulation
ocean
global ocean
continental slope
river
general circulation model
sea ice
eddy
outflow
evaporation
convection
runoff
anomaly
salinity
winter
basin

Keywords

  • METIS-300975

Cite this

Bamber, J. L., Behrens, E., Boening, C., van den Broeke, M., Lenaerts, J., Ettema, J., & Rignot, E. (2012). Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC. Abstract from EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, Austria.
Bamber, J.L. ; Behrens, E. ; Boening, C. ; van den Broeke, M. ; Lenaerts, J. ; Ettema, J. ; Rignot, E. / Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC. Abstract from EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, Austria.1 p.
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abstract = "Freshwater (FW) fluxes from river runoff and precipitation minus evaporation for the pan Arctic seas are relatively well documented and prescribed in ocean GCMs. Fluxes from Greenland on the other hand are generally ignored altogether, despite their potential impacts on ocean circulation and marine biology. Here, we present a reconstruction of the spatially distributed FW flux from Greenland for 1958-2010. We find a modest increase into the Arctic Ocean during this period. Fluxes into the Irminger Basin, however, have increased by fifty percent (6.30.5 km^3 yr-2) in less than twenty years. This greatly exceeds previous estimates. For the ice sheet as a whole the rate of increase since 1992 is 16.91.8 km^3 yr-2, which is eight times larger than the long term trend for Eurasian rivers.To investigate the impact on ocean dynamics, we force an eddy-permitting global ocean-sea ice model with the FW flux anomalies extended to 2020 based on current trends. Upon invading the surface waters of the subpolar North Atlantic, the additional FW leads to a gradual suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, inducing a ten percent weakening of the large-scale meridional overturning circulation. Surface salinity in Baffin Bay is reduced as FW accumulates in the region before being advected by an outflow by the shallow Labrador Current along the continental slope. The FW then begins to spread over the surface waters of the interior Subpolar North Atlantic. Our results suggest that the trends in Greenland FW fluxes in the last twenty years have already begun to significantly influence the circulation and hydrography of the North Atlantic.",
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author = "J.L. Bamber and E. Behrens and C. Boening and {van den Broeke}, M. and J. Lenaerts and J. Ettema and E. Rignot",
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Bamber, JL, Behrens, E, Boening, C, van den Broeke, M, Lenaerts, J, Ettema, J & Rignot, E 2012, 'Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC' EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, Austria, 22/04/12 - 27/04/12, .

Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC. / Bamber, J.L.; Behrens, E.; Boening, C.; van den Broeke, M.; Lenaerts, J.; Ettema, J.; Rignot, E.

2012. Abstract from EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, Austria.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

TY - CONF

T1 - Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC

AU - Bamber, J.L.

AU - Behrens, E.

AU - Boening, C.

AU - van den Broeke, M.

AU - Lenaerts, J.

AU - Ettema, J.

AU - Rignot, E.

PY - 2012/4/22

Y1 - 2012/4/22

N2 - Freshwater (FW) fluxes from river runoff and precipitation minus evaporation for the pan Arctic seas are relatively well documented and prescribed in ocean GCMs. Fluxes from Greenland on the other hand are generally ignored altogether, despite their potential impacts on ocean circulation and marine biology. Here, we present a reconstruction of the spatially distributed FW flux from Greenland for 1958-2010. We find a modest increase into the Arctic Ocean during this period. Fluxes into the Irminger Basin, however, have increased by fifty percent (6.30.5 km^3 yr-2) in less than twenty years. This greatly exceeds previous estimates. For the ice sheet as a whole the rate of increase since 1992 is 16.91.8 km^3 yr-2, which is eight times larger than the long term trend for Eurasian rivers.To investigate the impact on ocean dynamics, we force an eddy-permitting global ocean-sea ice model with the FW flux anomalies extended to 2020 based on current trends. Upon invading the surface waters of the subpolar North Atlantic, the additional FW leads to a gradual suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, inducing a ten percent weakening of the large-scale meridional overturning circulation. Surface salinity in Baffin Bay is reduced as FW accumulates in the region before being advected by an outflow by the shallow Labrador Current along the continental slope. The FW then begins to spread over the surface waters of the interior Subpolar North Atlantic. Our results suggest that the trends in Greenland FW fluxes in the last twenty years have already begun to significantly influence the circulation and hydrography of the North Atlantic.

AB - Freshwater (FW) fluxes from river runoff and precipitation minus evaporation for the pan Arctic seas are relatively well documented and prescribed in ocean GCMs. Fluxes from Greenland on the other hand are generally ignored altogether, despite their potential impacts on ocean circulation and marine biology. Here, we present a reconstruction of the spatially distributed FW flux from Greenland for 1958-2010. We find a modest increase into the Arctic Ocean during this period. Fluxes into the Irminger Basin, however, have increased by fifty percent (6.30.5 km^3 yr-2) in less than twenty years. This greatly exceeds previous estimates. For the ice sheet as a whole the rate of increase since 1992 is 16.91.8 km^3 yr-2, which is eight times larger than the long term trend for Eurasian rivers.To investigate the impact on ocean dynamics, we force an eddy-permitting global ocean-sea ice model with the FW flux anomalies extended to 2020 based on current trends. Upon invading the surface waters of the subpolar North Atlantic, the additional FW leads to a gradual suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, inducing a ten percent weakening of the large-scale meridional overturning circulation. Surface salinity in Baffin Bay is reduced as FW accumulates in the region before being advected by an outflow by the shallow Labrador Current along the continental slope. The FW then begins to spread over the surface waters of the interior Subpolar North Atlantic. Our results suggest that the trends in Greenland FW fluxes in the last twenty years have already begun to significantly influence the circulation and hydrography of the North Atlantic.

KW - METIS-300975

UR - https://ezproxy2.utwente.nl/login?url=https://webapps.itc.utwente.nl/library/2012/pres/ettema_enh.pdf

M3 - Abstract

ER -

Bamber JL, Behrens E, Boening C, van den Broeke M, Lenaerts J, Ettema J et al. Enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet and its impact on the Subpolar North Atlantic and AMOC. 2012. Abstract from EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, Austria.