Limits...
Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Winkelmann R, Levermann A, Ridgwell A, Caldeira K - Sci Adv (2015)

Bottom Line: With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium.Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level.Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 14412 Potsdam, Germany. ; Physics Institute, Potsdam University, 14476 Potsdam, Germany. ; Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

ABSTRACT
The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 m in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Rate of sea-level rise.Given is the average rate of sea-level rise for the next 1000 years (yellow), 3000 years (orange), and 10,000 years (red). Between 2010 and 2014, there has been an increase in cumulative emissions of about 40 GtC. To avoid exceeding the 2°C limit, the cumulative emissions need to be restricted to another 600 GtC. For more details, see fig. S6.
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Figure 3: Rate of sea-level rise.Given is the average rate of sea-level rise for the next 1000 years (yellow), 3000 years (orange), and 10,000 years (red). Between 2010 and 2014, there has been an increase in cumulative emissions of about 40 GtC. To avoid exceeding the 2°C limit, the cumulative emissions need to be restricted to another 600 GtC. For more details, see fig. S6.

Mentions: The Antarctic Ice Sheet is severely affected by high carbon emissions through both the marine ice-sheet instability and surface elevation feedbacks. On the time scale of millennia, large parts of the ice sheet melt or drain into the ocean, raising global sea level by several tens of meters. Most of the ice loss occurs within the first millennium, leading to high rates of sea-level rise during this period (Fig. 3; for more details, see also fig. S6). Our simulations show that cumulative emissions of 500 GtC commit us to long-term sea-level rise from Antarctica of 1.15 m within the next millenium, which is consistent with the sensitivity of 1.2 m/°C derived with a different ice-sheet model (33, 34). Paleo data suggest that similar rates of sea-level rise have occurred during past warm periods (35). If the 2°C target, corresponding to about 600 GtC of additional carbon release compared to year 2010, were attained, the millennial sea-level rise from Antarctica could likely be restricted to 2 m. In our simulations, this would keep the ice sheet below the threshold for the collapse of the Wilkes Basin. However, if that threshold is crossed, the Antarctic ice cover is significantly reduced in thickness and area (Fig. 4). If we were to release all currently attainable fossil fuel resources, Antarctica would become almost ice-free. It is unclear whether this dynamic discharge would be reversible and, if so, on which time scales.


Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Winkelmann R, Levermann A, Ridgwell A, Caldeira K - Sci Adv (2015)

Rate of sea-level rise.Given is the average rate of sea-level rise for the next 1000 years (yellow), 3000 years (orange), and 10,000 years (red). Between 2010 and 2014, there has been an increase in cumulative emissions of about 40 GtC. To avoid exceeding the 2°C limit, the cumulative emissions need to be restricted to another 600 GtC. For more details, see fig. S6.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4643791&req=5

Figure 3: Rate of sea-level rise.Given is the average rate of sea-level rise for the next 1000 years (yellow), 3000 years (orange), and 10,000 years (red). Between 2010 and 2014, there has been an increase in cumulative emissions of about 40 GtC. To avoid exceeding the 2°C limit, the cumulative emissions need to be restricted to another 600 GtC. For more details, see fig. S6.
Mentions: The Antarctic Ice Sheet is severely affected by high carbon emissions through both the marine ice-sheet instability and surface elevation feedbacks. On the time scale of millennia, large parts of the ice sheet melt or drain into the ocean, raising global sea level by several tens of meters. Most of the ice loss occurs within the first millennium, leading to high rates of sea-level rise during this period (Fig. 3; for more details, see also fig. S6). Our simulations show that cumulative emissions of 500 GtC commit us to long-term sea-level rise from Antarctica of 1.15 m within the next millenium, which is consistent with the sensitivity of 1.2 m/°C derived with a different ice-sheet model (33, 34). Paleo data suggest that similar rates of sea-level rise have occurred during past warm periods (35). If the 2°C target, corresponding to about 600 GtC of additional carbon release compared to year 2010, were attained, the millennial sea-level rise from Antarctica could likely be restricted to 2 m. In our simulations, this would keep the ice sheet below the threshold for the collapse of the Wilkes Basin. However, if that threshold is crossed, the Antarctic ice cover is significantly reduced in thickness and area (Fig. 4). If we were to release all currently attainable fossil fuel resources, Antarctica would become almost ice-free. It is unclear whether this dynamic discharge would be reversible and, if so, on which time scales.

Bottom Line: With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium.Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level.Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 14412 Potsdam, Germany. ; Physics Institute, Potsdam University, 14476 Potsdam, Germany. ; Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

ABSTRACT
The Antarctic Ice Sheet stores water equivalent to 58 m in global sea-level rise. We show in simulations using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model that burning the currently attainable fossil fuel resources is sufficient to eliminate the ice sheet. With cumulative fossil fuel emissions of 10,000 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC), Antarctica is projected to become almost ice-free with an average contribution to sea-level rise exceeding 3 m per century during the first millennium. Consistent with recent observations and simulations, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet becomes unstable with 600 to 800 GtC of additional carbon emissions. Beyond this additional carbon release, the destabilization of ice basins in both West and East Antarctica results in a threshold increase in global sea level. Unabated carbon emissions thus threaten the Antarctic Ice Sheet in its entirety with associated sea-level rise that far exceeds that of all other possible sources.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus