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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 22 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Semi-equilibrated global sea-level change projections for the next 10 000 years

Jonas Van Breedam1, Heiko Goelzer1,a, and Philippe Huybrechts1 Jonas Van Breedam et al.
  • 1Earth System Science and Departement Geografie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussel, Belgium
  • anow at: Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Abstract. The emphasis for informing policy makers on future sea-level rise has been on projections by the end of the 21st century. However, due to the long lifetime of atmospheric CO2, the thermal inertia of the climate system and the slow equilibration of the ice sheets, global sea level will continue to rise on a multi-millennial timescale even when anthropogenic CO2 emissions cease completely during the coming decades to centuries. Here we present global sea-level change projections due to melting of land ice combined with steric sea effects during the next 10 000 years calculated in a fully interactive way with the Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity LOVECLIMv1.3. The climate forcing is based on the Extended Concentration Pathways defined until 2300 AD with no carbon dioxide emissions thereafter and the inclusion of a methane-emission feedback for the highest forcing scenario, equivalent to a cumulative CO2 release of around 460 to 5800 GtC. After 10 000 years, the sea-level change rate drops below 0.05 m per century and a semi-equilibrated state is reached. The Greenland ice sheet is found to nearly disappear for all forcing scenarios. The Antarctic ice sheet contributes only about 1.6 m to sea level for the lowest forcing scenario with a limited retreat of the grounding line in West Antarctica. For the higher forcing scenarios, the marine basins of the East Antarctic ice sheet also become ice free, resulting in a sea-level rise of up to 27 m. The global mean sea-level change after 10 000 years ranges from 9.2 m to more than 37 m. The projections of multi-millennial semi-equilibrated sea-level rise for a given CO2 forcing are shown to be in good agreement with geological archives.

Jonas Van Breedam et al.

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Jonas Van Breedam et al.

Jonas Van Breedam et al.


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