Climate change over the next millennia using LOVECLIM, a new Earth system model including the polar ice sheets
A new Earth system model of intermediate complexity, LOVECLIM, has been developed in order to study long-term future climate changes. In particular, LOVECLIM includes an interactive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet model (AGISM) as well as an oceanic carbon cycle model (LOCH). Those climatic components can have a great impact on future climate. However, most studies investigating future climate changes do not take them into account. The few studies in recent literature assessing the impact of polar ice sheets on future climate draw very different conclusions, which shows the need for developing such a model. The aim of this study is to analyse the possible perturbations of climate induced by human activities over the next millennia. A particular attention is given to the evolution of the oceanic thermohaline circulation. A series of numerical simulations have been performed with LOVECLIM over the next millennia using various forcing scenarios. The global equilibrium warming computed by the model ranges from 0.55°C to 3.75°C with respect to preindustrial times. The model does not simulate a complete shut down of the oceanic thermohaline circulation but a transient weakening followed by a quasi-recovering at equilibrium. In most of the projections, the Greenland ice sheet undergoes a continuous reduction in volume, leading to an almost total disappearance in the most pessimistic scenarios. The impact of the Greenland deglaciation on climate has been assessed through sensitivity experiments. The removal of the Greenland ice sheet is responsible for a regional amplification of the global warming inducing a total melt of Arctic sea ice in summer. The freshwater flux from Greenland generates large salinity anomalies in the North Atlantic Ocean that reduce the rate of North Atlantic Deep Water formation, slowing down the oceanic thermohaline circulation.
School:Université catholique de Louvain
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:evénements abruptes loveclim ice sheets changements climatiques climate change calottes glaciaires abrupt event
Date of Publication:10/24/2005