Articles | Volume 7, issue 4
Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 1803–1818, 2014
Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 1803–1818, 2014

Model description paper 27 Aug 2014

Model description paper | 27 Aug 2014

Formulation, calibration and validation of the DAIS model (version 1), a simple Antarctic ice sheet model sensitive to variations of sea level and ocean subsurface temperature

G. Shaffer G. Shaffer
  • Center for Advanced Research in Arid Zones, La Serena, Chile
  • Center for Climate and Resilience Research, Santiago, Chile
  • Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • previously at: Department of Geophysics, University of Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile

Abstract. The DCESS (Danish Center for Earth System Science) Antarctic Ice Sheet (DAIS) model is presented. Model hindcasts of Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) sea level equivalent are forced by reconstructed Antarctic temperatures, global mean sea level and high-latitude, ocean subsurface temperatures, the latter calculated using the DCESS model forced by reconstructed global mean atmospheric temperatures. The model is calibrated by comparing such hindcasts for different model configurations with paleoreconstructions of AIS sea level equivalent from the last interglacial, the last glacial maximum and the mid-Holocene. The calibrated model is then validated against present estimates of the rate of AIS ice loss. It is found that a high-order dependency of ice flow at the grounding line on water depth there is needed to capture the observed response of the AIS at ice age terminations. Furthermore, it is found that a dependency of this ice flow on ocean subsurface temperature by way of ice shelf demise and a resulting buttressing decrease is needed to explain the contribution of the AIS to global mean sea level rise at the last interglacial. When forced and calibrated in this way, model hindcasts of the rate of present-day AIS ice loss agree with recent, data-based estimates of this ice loss rate.