Investigating the mechanisms leading to the deglaciation of past continental northern hemisphere ice sheets with the CLIMBER-GREMLINS coupled model - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Global and Planetary Change Year : 2005

Investigating the mechanisms leading to the deglaciation of past continental northern hemisphere ice sheets with the CLIMBER-GREMLINS coupled model

Abstract

A coupling procedure between a climate model of intermediate complexity (CLIMBER-2.3) and a 3-dimensional thermo-mechanical ice-sheet model (GREMLINS) has been elaborated. The resulting coupled model describes the evolution of atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, cryosphere and their mutual interactions. It is used to perform several simulations of the Last Deglaciation period to identify the physical mechanisms at the origin of the deglaciation process. Our baseline experiment, forced by insolation and atmospheric CO2, produces almost complete deglaciation of past northern hemisphere continental ice sheets, although ice remains over the Cordilleran region at the end of the simulation and also in Alaska and Eastern Siberia. Results clearly demonstrate that, in this study, the melting of the North American ice sheet is critically dependent on the deglaciation of Fennoscandia through processes involving switches of the thermohaline circulation from a glacial mode to a modern one and associated warming of the northern hemisphere. A set of sensitivity experiments has been carried out to test the relative importance of both forcing factors and internal processes in the deglaciation mechanism. It appears that the deglaciation is primarily driven by insolation. However, the atmospheric CO2 modulates the timing of the melting of the Fennoscandian ice sheet, and results relative to Laurentide illustrate the existence of threshold CO2 values, that can be translated in terms of critical temperature, below which the deglaciation is impeded. Finally, we show that the beginning of the deglaciation process of the Laurentide ice sheet may be influenced by the time at which the shift of the thermohaline circulation from one mode to the other occurs.

Dates and versions

insu-00373777 , version 1 (07-04-2009)

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Sylvie Charbit, Masa Kageyama, Didier M. Roche, Catherine Ritz, Gilles Ramstein. Investigating the mechanisms leading to the deglaciation of past continental northern hemisphere ice sheets with the CLIMBER-GREMLINS coupled model. Global and Planetary Change, 2005, 48 (4), pp.253 à 273. ⟨10.1016/j.gloplacha.2005.01.002⟩. ⟨insu-00373777⟩
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