Research ArticleCLIMATE CHANGE

Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet

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Science Advances  11 Sep 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 8, e1500589
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500589
  • Fig. 1 Climate scenarios and time series of ice loss.

    (A) CO2 emission scenarios releasing from 93 to 12,000 GtC to the atmosphere after year 2010, following a logistic equation (15). (B) Resulting CO2 concentration pathways for the years 1750 to 12,000 as simulated with GENIE for the emission scenarios depicted in (A). (C) Global mean temperature anomaly with respect to the pre-industrial temperature, simulated with GENIE. (D) Ice loss from Antarctica (in meters sea-level equivalent) in response to warming of the atmosphere and the Southern Ocean, simulated with PISM.

  • Fig. 2 Sea-level commitment from Antarctic ice loss.

    Given is the total sea-level change after 1000 years (yellow), 3000 years (orange), and 10,000 years (red) after year 2000 for each of the scenarios depicted in Fig. 1. The maximum temperature anomaly and the temperature anomaly after 10,000 years are given on the upper x axis. If all of the currently attainable carbon resources [estimated to be between 8500 and 13.600 GtC (4)] were burned, the Antarctic Ice Sheet would lose most of its mass, raising global sea level by more than 50 m. For the 125 GtC as well as the 500, 800, 2500, and 5000 GtC scenarios, the ice-covered area is depicted in white (ice-free bedrock in brown). For more details, see fig. S5.

  • Fig. 3 Rate of sea-level rise.

    Given is the average rate of sea-level rise for the next 1000 years (yellow), 3000 years (orange), and 10,000 years (red). Between 2010 and 2014, there has been an increase in cumulative emissions of about 40 GtC. To avoid exceeding the 2°C limit, the cumulative emissions need to be restricted to another 600 GtC. For more details, see fig. S6.

  • Fig. 4 States of the Antarctic Ice Sheet after 10,000 years.

    (A to F) Shown is the ice thickness for (A) present-day Antarctica and the states of the ice sheet after forcing it for 10,000 years with cumulative emissions of (B) 500 GtC, (C) 1000 GtC, (D) 2500 GtC, (E) 5000 GtC, and (F) 10,000 GtC, simulated with the ice-sheet model PISM. Ice-free bedrock is shown in brown. For each scenario, the grounding line position after 100, 300, and 1000 years is shown in green, light green, and yellow, respectively. In the 1000 GtC scenario, both the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (red rectangular) and the Wilkes Basin (green rectangular) become unstable. For the 10,000 GtC scenario, the Antarctic continent is almost ice-free.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/1/8/e1500589/DC1

    Fig. S1. Surface and ocean warming in Antarctica.

    Fig. S2. Sea-level change within the next century.

    Fig. S3. Sub-shelf melt sensitivity.

    Fig. S4. Sensitivity to climate parameters.

    Fig. S5. Sea-level commitment from Antarctic ice loss.

    Fig. S6. Rate of sea-level rise.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Surface and ocean warming in Antarctica.
    • Fig. S2. Sea-level change within the next century.
    • Fig. S3. Sub-shelf melt sensitivity.
    • Fig. S4. Sensitivity to climate parameters.
    • Fig. S5. Sea-level commitment from Antarctic ice loss.
    • Fig. S6. Rate of sea-level rise.

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