Model project to improve sea level rise projections

The edge of a glacier in the Southern Ocean.
Better representation of ice sheet-ocean interactions in models will improve predictions of future sea level rise. (Photo: David Barringhaus)

New research will help improve predictions of future sea level rise by better representing the interaction between the Antarctic ice sheet and the ocean in models.

The research, led by Dr David Gwyther from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi, compared the results from three ice sheet-ocean models.

They found that predictions of sea level rise differed depending on the method that was used to calculate melting at the base of the ice sheet.

The research was conducted through the World Climate Research Programme’s Marine Ice Sheet-Ocean Model Intercomparison Project, which aims to improve the representation of ice sheet-ocean interactions in models.

“Our study will help to improve future simulations and better understand unexplained differences in existing computer simulations,” Dr Gwyther said.

“Laboratory experiments, high resolution modelling studies, and direct observations from Antarctica, will continue to improve the models.”

The research is published in Ocean Modelling.