We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Long-term increase in Antarctic Ice Sheet vulnerability driven by bed topography evolution.

Paxman, G.J.G. and Gasson, E.G.W. and Jamieson, S.S.R. and Bentley, M.J. and Ferraccioli, F. (2020) 'Long-term increase in Antarctic Ice Sheet vulnerability driven by bed topography evolution.', Geophysical research letters., 47 (20). e2020GL090003.


Ice sheet behavior is strongly influenced by the bed topography. However, the effect of the progressive temporal evolution of Antarctica's subglacial landscape on the sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) to climatic and oceanic change has yet to be fully quantified. Here we investigate the evolving sensitivity of the AIS using a series of data‐constrained reconstructions of Antarctic paleotopography since glacial inception at the Eocene‐Oligocene transition. We use a numerical ice sheet model to subject the AIS to schematic climate and ocean warming experiments and find that bed topographic evolution causes a doubling in ice volume loss and equivalent global sea level rise. Glacial erosion is primarily responsible for enhanced ice sheet retreat via the development of increasingly low‐lying and reverse sloping beds over time, particularly within near‐coastal subglacial basins. We conclude that AIS sensitivity to climate and ocean forcing has been substantially amplified by long‐term landscape evolution.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:©2020. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:30 September 2020
Date deposited:27 October 2020
Date of first online publication:20 October 2020
Date first made open access:27 October 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar