Quantification of the Greenland ice sheet contribution to Last Interglacial sea-level rise
The Last Interglaciation (~ 130–115 thousand years ago) was a time when the Arctic climate was warmer than today (Anderson et al., 2006; Kaspar et al., 2005) and sea-level extremely likely at least 6 m higher (Kopp et al., 2009). However, there is large uncertainty in the relative contributions to this sea-level rise from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and smaller icefields (Otto-Bliesner et al., 2006; Huybrechts, 2002; Letréguilly et al., 1991; Ritz et al., 1997; Cuffey and Marshall, 2000; Tarasov and Peltier, 2003; Lhomme et al., 2005; Greve, 2005; Robinson et al., 2011; Fyke et al., 2011). By performing an ensemble of 500 coupled climate – ice sheet model simulations, constrained by paleo-data, we determine probabilistically the likely contribution of Greenland ice sheet melt to Last Interglacial sea-level rise, taking into account model uncertainty. Here we show a 90% probability that Greenland ice melt contributed at least 0.6 m but less than 10% probability it exceeded 3.5 m, a value which is lower than several recent estimates (Cuffey and Marshall, 2000; Tarasov and Peltier, 2003; Lhomme et al., 2005; Robinson et al., 2011). Our combined modelling and paleo-data approach suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is less sensitive to orbital forcing than previously thought, and implicates Antarctic melt as providing a substantial contribution to Last Interglacial sea-level rise.