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Positive Late 20th-century Trend in Antarctic Snow Accumulation Drives Modest Mitigation of Sea Level Rise
  • Advik Eswaran,
  • Olivia Truax,
  • T.J. Fudge
Advik Eswaran
Princeton University

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Olivia Truax
University of Washington
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T.J. Fudge
University of Washington
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Increasing snow accumulation over the Antarctic Ice Sheet may mitigate future sea level rise. However, current estimates of mitigation potential are poorly constrained due to limited records of past variability. We present an annually resolved reconstruction of Antarctic snow accumulation from 1801 to 2000 CE, employing a paleoclimate data assimilation methodology to integrate ice core records with a multi-model ensemble of climate simulations. Our reconstruction correlates well with instrumental reanalysis, and we find that Antarctic accumulation rates increased over the 20th-century, resulting in a modest amount (~1 mm) of sea level mitigation. Mitigation is primarily driven by an accelerating trend since around 1970. Our results contrast with a previous mitigation estimate of ~10 mm; this discrepancy is due to unconstrained baseline estimates of 19th-century accumulation in East Antarctica. Our reconstruction suggests that the uncertainty of future sea level mitigation from increasing Antarctic accumulation has been underestimated.
30 Oct 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
08 Nov 2023Published in ESS Open Archive