An Overview of Interactions and Feedbacks Between Ice Sheets and the Earth System
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An Overview of Interactions and Feedbacks Between Ice Sheets and the Earth System

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  • Journal Title:
    Reviews of Geophysics
  • Description:
    Ice sheet response to forced changessuch as that from anthropogenic climate forcingis closely regulated by two-way interactions with other components of the Earth system. These interactions encompass the ice sheet response to Earth system forcing, the Earth system response to ice sheet change, and feedbacks resulting from coupled ice sheet/Earth system evolution. Motivated by the impact of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet change on future sea level rise, here we review the state of knowledge of ice sheet/Earth system interactions and feedbacks. We also describe emerging observation and model-based methods that can improve understanding of ice sheet/Earth system interactions and feedbacks. We particularly focus on the development of Earth system models that incorporate current understanding of Earth system processes, ice dynamics, and ice sheet/Earth system couplings. Such models will be critical tools for projecting future sea level rise from anthropogenically forced ice sheet mass loss. Plain Language Summary Sea level rise from ice sheets depends closely on interactions between ice sheets and the surrounding Earth system. These interactions determine how forcings to the climate system (such as from anthropogenic climate influences) translate to ice sheet change, which in turn impact the surrounding environment. This set of two-way interactions between ice sheets and the Earth system forms the basis for important, yet poorly understood feedback loops. This review article describes the current state of knowledge of ice sheet/Earth system interactions and feedbacks and describes promising observational techniques for better understanding their behavior. It also highlights challenges and opportunities in modeling these interactions and feedbacks using coupled ice sheet/Earth system models, which will ultimately be used to predict future sea level rise caused by ice sheet loss.
  • Source:
    Reviews of Geophysics, 56(2), 361-408.
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