10.6.3.3 Glaciers and Ice Caps on Greenland and Antarctica
The G&IC on Greenland and Antarctica (apart from the ice sheets) have been less studied and projections for them are consequently more uncertain. A model estimate for the G&IC on Greenland indicates an addition of about 6% to the G&IC sea level contribution in the 21st century (van de Wal and Wild, 2001). Using a degree-day scheme, Vaughan (2006) estimates that ablation of glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula presently amounts to 0.008 to 0.055 mm yr–1 of sea level, 1 to 9% of the contribution from G&IC outside Greenland and Antarctica (Table 4.4). Morris and Mulvaney (2004) find that accumulation increases on the Antarctic Peninsula were larger than ablation increases during 1972 to 1998, giving a small net negative sea level contribution from the region. However, because ablation increases nonlinearly with temperature, they estimate that for future warming the contribution would become positive, with a sensitivity of 0.07 ± 0.03 mm yr–1 °C–1 to uniform temperature change in Antarctica, that is, about 10% of the global sensitivity of G&IC outside Greenland and Antarctica (Section 10.6.3.1).
These results suggest that the Antarctic and Greenland G&IC will together give 10 to 20% of the sea level contribution of other G&IC in future decades. In recent decades, the G&IC on Greenland and Antarctica have together made a contribution of about 20% of the total of other G&IC (see Section 4.5.2). On these grounds, the global G&IC sea level contribution is increased by a factor of 1.2 to include those in Greenland and Antarctica in projections for the 21st century (see Section 10.6.5 and Table 10.7). Dynamical acceleration of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica following removal of ice shelves, as has recently happened on the Antarctic Peninsula (Sections 18.104.22.168 and 10.6.4.2), would add further to this, and is included in projections of that effect (Section 10.6.4.3).