Large ensemble modeling of the last deglacial retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Comparison of simple and advanced statistical techniques

D. Pollard, W. Chang, M. Haran, P. Applegate, and R. DeConto

Geoscientific Model Development Discussions (4 May 2016)

DOI: 10.5194/gmd-9-1697-2016

A 3-D hybrid ice-sheet model is applied to the last deglacial retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet over the last ∼ 20 000 years. A large ensemble of 625 model runs is used to calibrate the model to modern and geologic data, including reconstructed grounding 5 lines, relative sea-level records, elevation-age data and uplift rates, with an aggregate score computed for each run that measures overall model-data misfit. Two types of statistical methods are used to analyze the large-ensemble results: simple averaging weighted by the aggregate score, and more advanced Bayesian techniques involving Gaussian process-based emulation and calibration, and Markov chain Monte Carlo. 10 Results for best-fit parameter ranges and envelopes of equivalent sea-level rise with the simple averaging method agree quite well with the more advanced techniques, but only for a large ensemble with full factorial parameter sampling. Best-fit parameter ranges confirm earlier values expected from prior model tuning, including large basal sliding coefficients on modern ocean beds. Each run is extended 5000 years into the 15 “future” with idealized ramped climate warming. In the majority of runs with reasonable scores, this produces grounding-line retreat deep into the West Antarctic interior, and the analysis provides sea-level-rise envelopes with well defined parametric uncertainty bounds.

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