Modelling the response of glaciers to climate warming

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Oerlemans, J. , Anderson, B. , Hubbard, A. , Huybrechts, P. , Johannesson, T. , Knap, W. H. , Schmeits, M. , Stroeven, A. P. , van de Wal, R. S. W. , Wallinga, J. and Zuo, Z. (1998): Modelling the response of glaciers to climate warming , Climate Dynamics, 14 , pp. 267-274 .
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Dynamic ice-flow models for 12 glaciers and ice caps have been forced with various climate change scenarios. The volume of this samplespans three orders of magnitude. Six climate scenarios were considered: from 1990 onwards linear warming rates of 0.01, 0.02 and 0.04K/y, with and without concurrent changes in precipitation. The models, calibrated against the historic record of glacier length wherepossible, were integrated until 2100.The differences in individual glacier responses are very large. No straightforwart relationship between glacier size and the fractionalchange of ice volume emerges for any given climate scenario. The hypsometry of individual glaciers and ice caps plays an important rolein their response, thus making it difficult to generalize results.For a warming rate of 0.04 K/y, without increase in precipitation, results indicate that few glaciers would survive until 2100. On the otherhand, if the warming rate would be limited to 0.01 K/y with an increase in precipitation of 10%, we predict that the loss of ice would berestricted to 10 to 20% of the 1990 volume.

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