Geodetic measurements reveal similarities between post–Last Glacial Maximum and present-day mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet

Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Ingo Sasgen, Michael Bevis, Tonie van Dam, Jonathan L Bamber, John Wahr, Michael Willis, Kurt H. Kjær, Bert Wouters, Veit Helm, Bea M Csatho, Kevin Fleming, Anders Anker Bjørk, Andy Aschwanden, Per Knudsen, Peter K Munneke

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Abstract

Accurate quantification of the millennial-scale mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to global sea-level rise remain challenging because of sparse in situ observations in key regions. Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) is the ongoing response of the solid Earth to ice and ocean load changes occurring since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~21 thousand years ago) and may be used to constrain the GrIS deglaciation history. We use data from the Greenland Global Positioning System network to directly measure GIA and estimate basinwide mass changes since the LGM. Unpredicted, large GIA uplift rates of +12 mm/year are found in southeast Greenland. These rates are due to low upper mantle viscosity in the region, from when Greenland passed over the Iceland hot spot about 40 million years ago. This region of concentrated soft rheology has a profound influence on reconstructing the deglaciation history of Greenland. We reevaluate the evolution of the GrIS since LGM and obtain a loss of 1.5-m sea-level equivalent from the northwest and southeast. These same sectors are dominating modern mass loss. We suggest that the present destabilization of these marine-based sectors may increase sea level for centuries to come. Our new deglaciation history and GIA uplift estimates suggest that studies that use the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite mission to infer present-day changes in the GrIS may have erroneously corrected for GIA and underestimated the mass loss by about 20 gigatons/year.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1600931
JournalScience Advances
Volume2
Issue number9
Number of pages10
ISSN2375-2548
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

2016 © The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution
NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). 10.1126/sciadv.1600931

Cite this

Khan, Shfaqat Abbas ; Sasgen, Ingo ; Bevis, Michael ; Dam, Tonie van ; Bamber, Jonathan L ; Wahr, John ; Willis, Michael ; Kjær, Kurt H. ; Wouters, Bert ; Helm, Veit ; Csatho, Bea M ; Fleming, Kevin ; Bjørk, Anders Anker ; Aschwanden, Andy ; Knudsen, Per ; Munneke, Peter K. / Geodetic measurements reveal similarities between post–Last Glacial Maximum and present-day mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet. In: Science Advances. 2016 ; Vol. 2, No. 9.
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title = "Geodetic measurements reveal similarities between post–Last Glacial Maximum and present-day mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet",
abstract = "Accurate quantification of the millennial-scale mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to global sea-level rise remain challenging because of sparse in situ observations in key regions. Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) is the ongoing response of the solid Earth to ice and ocean load changes occurring since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~21 thousand years ago) and may be used to constrain the GrIS deglaciation history. We use data from the Greenland Global Positioning System network to directly measure GIA and estimate basinwide mass changes since the LGM. Unpredicted, large GIA uplift rates of +12 mm/year are found in southeast Greenland. These rates are due to low upper mantle viscosity in the region, from when Greenland passed over the Iceland hot spot about 40 million years ago. This region of concentrated soft rheology has a profound influence on reconstructing the deglaciation history of Greenland. We reevaluate the evolution of the GrIS since LGM and obtain a loss of 1.5-m sea-level equivalent from the northwest and southeast. These same sectors are dominating modern mass loss. We suggest that the present destabilization of these marine-based sectors may increase sea level for centuries to come. Our new deglaciation history and GIA uplift estimates suggest that studies that use the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite mission to infer present-day changes in the GrIS may have erroneously corrected for GIA and underestimated the mass loss by about 20 gigatons/year.",
author = "Khan, {Shfaqat Abbas} and Ingo Sasgen and Michael Bevis and Dam, {Tonie van} and Bamber, {Jonathan L} and John Wahr and Michael Willis and Kj{\ae}r, {Kurt H.} and Bert Wouters and Veit Helm and Csatho, {Bea M} and Kevin Fleming and Bj{\o}rk, {Anders Anker} and Andy Aschwanden and Per Knudsen and Munneke, {Peter K}",
note = "2016 {\circledC} The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). 10.1126/sciadv.1600931",
year = "2016",
doi = "DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600931",
language = "English",
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Khan, SA, Sasgen, I, Bevis, M, Dam, TV, Bamber, JL, Wahr, J, Willis, M, Kjær, KH, Wouters, B, Helm, V, Csatho, BM, Fleming, K, Bjørk, AA, Aschwanden, A, Knudsen, P & Munneke, PK 2016, 'Geodetic measurements reveal similarities between post–Last Glacial Maximum and present-day mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet', Science Advances, vol. 2, no. 9, e1600931. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600931

Geodetic measurements reveal similarities between post–Last Glacial Maximum and present-day mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet. / Khan, Shfaqat Abbas; Sasgen, Ingo; Bevis, Michael; Dam, Tonie van; Bamber, Jonathan L; Wahr, John; Willis, Michael; Kjær, Kurt H.; Wouters, Bert; Helm, Veit; Csatho, Bea M; Fleming, Kevin; Bjørk, Anders Anker; Aschwanden, Andy; Knudsen, Per; Munneke, Peter K.

In: Science Advances, Vol. 2, No. 9, e1600931, 2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Geodetic measurements reveal similarities between post–Last Glacial Maximum and present-day mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet

AU - Khan, Shfaqat Abbas

AU - Sasgen, Ingo

AU - Bevis, Michael

AU - Dam, Tonie van

AU - Bamber, Jonathan L

AU - Wahr, John

AU - Willis, Michael

AU - Kjær, Kurt H.

AU - Wouters, Bert

AU - Helm, Veit

AU - Csatho, Bea M

AU - Fleming, Kevin

AU - Bjørk, Anders Anker

AU - Aschwanden, Andy

AU - Knudsen, Per

AU - Munneke, Peter K

N1 - 2016 © The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). 10.1126/sciadv.1600931

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Accurate quantification of the millennial-scale mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to global sea-level rise remain challenging because of sparse in situ observations in key regions. Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) is the ongoing response of the solid Earth to ice and ocean load changes occurring since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~21 thousand years ago) and may be used to constrain the GrIS deglaciation history. We use data from the Greenland Global Positioning System network to directly measure GIA and estimate basinwide mass changes since the LGM. Unpredicted, large GIA uplift rates of +12 mm/year are found in southeast Greenland. These rates are due to low upper mantle viscosity in the region, from when Greenland passed over the Iceland hot spot about 40 million years ago. This region of concentrated soft rheology has a profound influence on reconstructing the deglaciation history of Greenland. We reevaluate the evolution of the GrIS since LGM and obtain a loss of 1.5-m sea-level equivalent from the northwest and southeast. These same sectors are dominating modern mass loss. We suggest that the present destabilization of these marine-based sectors may increase sea level for centuries to come. Our new deglaciation history and GIA uplift estimates suggest that studies that use the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite mission to infer present-day changes in the GrIS may have erroneously corrected for GIA and underestimated the mass loss by about 20 gigatons/year.

AB - Accurate quantification of the millennial-scale mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its contribution to global sea-level rise remain challenging because of sparse in situ observations in key regions. Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) is the ongoing response of the solid Earth to ice and ocean load changes occurring since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~21 thousand years ago) and may be used to constrain the GrIS deglaciation history. We use data from the Greenland Global Positioning System network to directly measure GIA and estimate basinwide mass changes since the LGM. Unpredicted, large GIA uplift rates of +12 mm/year are found in southeast Greenland. These rates are due to low upper mantle viscosity in the region, from when Greenland passed over the Iceland hot spot about 40 million years ago. This region of concentrated soft rheology has a profound influence on reconstructing the deglaciation history of Greenland. We reevaluate the evolution of the GrIS since LGM and obtain a loss of 1.5-m sea-level equivalent from the northwest and southeast. These same sectors are dominating modern mass loss. We suggest that the present destabilization of these marine-based sectors may increase sea level for centuries to come. Our new deglaciation history and GIA uplift estimates suggest that studies that use the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite mission to infer present-day changes in the GrIS may have erroneously corrected for GIA and underestimated the mass loss by about 20 gigatons/year.

U2 - DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600931

DO - DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600931

M3 - Journal article

VL - 2

JO - Science Advances

JF - Science Advances

SN - 2375-2548

IS - 9

M1 - e1600931

ER -