Application of GRACE to the Evaluation of an Ice Flow Model of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Friday, 19 December 2014
Nicole Schlegel1, David N Wiese2, Michael M Watkins2, Eric Y Larour2, Jason E Box3, Xavier Fettweis4, Michiel R van den Broeke5, Mathieu Morlighem6, Carmen Boening2 and Helene L Seroussi2, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark, (4)University of Liège, Geography, Liège, Belgium, (5)Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands, (6)University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States
Quantifying Greenland's future contribution to sea level rise is a challenging task and requires accurate estimates of ice flow sensitivity to climate change. Transient ice flow models are promising tools for estimating future ice sheet behavior. However, confidence in these types of future projections is low, especially because evaluation of model historical runs is so challenging due to the scarcity of continental-wide data for validation. For more than a decade, NASA's GRACE has continuously acquired time-variable measurements of the Earth's gravity field and has provided unprecedented surveillance of mass balance of the ice sheets, offering an opportunity for ice sheet model evaluation. Here, we take advantage of a new high-resolution (~300 km) monthly mascon solution for the purpose of mass balance comparison with an independent, historical ice flow model simulation using the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM). The comparison highlights which regions of the ice sheet differ most from GRACE. Investigation of regional differences in trends and seasonal amplitudes between simulations forced with three different Regional Climate Model (RCM)-based estimates of surface mass balance (SMB) allows us to make conclusions about the relative contributions of various error sources in the model hindcast. This study constitutes the first regional comparison of GRACE data and an ice sheet model. Conclusions will aid in the improvement of RCM SMB estimates as well as ice sheet simulation estimates of present and future rates of sea level rise. This work was performed at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cryosphere Program and President's and Director's Fund Program.