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Stochastic marine ice sheet variability

  • T. E. Mulder (a1), S. Baars (a2), F. W. Wubs (a2) and H. A. Dijkstra (a1)


It is well known that deterministic two-dimensional marine ice sheets can only be stable if the grounding line is positioned at a sufficiently steep, downward sloping bedrock. When bedrock conditions favour instabilities, multiple stable ice sheet profiles may occur. Here, we employ continuation techniques to examine the sensitivity of a two-dimensional marine ice sheet to stochastic noise representing short time scale variability, either in the accumulation rate or in the sea level height. We find that in unique regimes, the position of the grounding line is most sensitive to noise in the accumulation rate and can explain excursions observed in field measurements. In the multiple equilibrium regime, there is a strong asymmetry in transition probabilities between the different ice sheet states, with a strong preference to switch to the branch with a steeper bedrock slope.


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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
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