Rapid Ice-Sheet Changes and Mechanical Coupling to Solid-Earth/Sea-Level and Space Geodetic Observation

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Surendra Adhikari, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
Perturbations in gravitational and rotational potentials caused by climate driven mass redistribution on the earth’s surface, such as ice sheet melting and terrestrial water storage, affect the spatiotemporal variability in global and regional sea level. Here we present a numerically accurate, computationally efficient, high-resolution model for sea level. Unlike contemporary models that are based on spherical-harmonic formulation, the model can operate efficiently in a flexible embedded finite-element mesh system, thus capturing the physics operating at km-scale yet capable of simulating geophysical quantities that are inherently of global scale with minimal computational cost. One obvious application is to compute evolution of sea level fingerprints and associated geodetic and astronomical observables (e.g., geoid height, gravity anomaly, solid-earth deformation, polar motion, and geocentric motion) as a companion to a numerical 3-D thermo-mechanical ice sheet simulation, thus capturing global signatures of climate driven mass redistribution. We evaluate some important time-varying signatures of GRACE inferred ice sheet mass balance and continental hydrological budget; for example, we identify dominant sources of ongoing sea-level change at the selected tide gauge stations, and explain the relative contribution of different sources to the observed polar drift. We also report our progress on ice-sheet/solid-earth/sea-level model coupling efforts toward realistic simulation of Pine Island Glacier over the past several hundred years.