A Simple Model for Deglacial Meltwater Pulses

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL080884. This is version 1 of this Preprint.


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Alexander Robel, Victor C. Tsai


Evidence from radiocarbon dating and complex ice sheet modeling suggests that the fastest rate of sea level rise in Earths recent history coincided with collapse of the ice saddle between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets during the last deglaciation. In this study, we derive a simple, two-equation model of two ice sheets intersecting in an ice saddle. We show that two conditions are necessary for producing the acceleration in ice sheet melt associated with meltwater pulses: the positive height-mass balance feedback and an ice saddle geometry. The amplitude and timing of meltwater pulses is sensitively dependent on the rate of climate warming during deglaciation and the relative size of ice sheets undergoing deglaciation. We discuss how simulations of meltwater pulses can be improved and the prospect for meltwater pulses under continued climate warming.




Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Glaciology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


modeling, Sea level, paleoclimate, ice sheet, meltwater pulse, bifurcation, instability


Published: 2018-11-08 15:47


GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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