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Nat Commun. 2015 Nov 10;6:8798. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9798.

Sea-level feedback lowers projections of future Antarctic Ice-Sheet mass loss.

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Center for Atmosphere Ocean Sciences, Couratnt Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, New York 10012, USA.
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University, 3450 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 0E8.
Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16801, USA.


The stability of marine sectors of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) in a warming climate has been identified as the largest source of uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise. Sea-level fall near the grounding line of a retreating marine ice sheet has a stabilizing influence on the ice sheets, and previous studies have established the importance of this feedback on ice age AIS evolution. Here we use a coupled ice sheet-sea-level model to investigate the impact of the feedback mechanism on future AIS retreat over centennial and millennial timescales for a range of emission scenarios. We show that the combination of bedrock uplift and sea-surface drop associated with ice-sheet retreat significantly reduces AIS mass loss relative to a simulation without these effects included. Sensitivity analyses show that the stabilization tends to be greatest for lower emission scenarios and Earth models characterized by a thin elastic lithosphere and low-viscosity upper mantle, as is the case for West Antarctica.

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