Ocean eddies strongly affect global mean sea-level projections

René M. van Westen, Henk A. Dijkstra
2021 Science Advances  
Current sea-level projections are based on climate models in which the effects of ocean eddies are parameterized. Here, we investigate the effect of ocean eddies on global mean sea-level rise (GMSLR) projections, using climate model simulations. Explicitly resolving ocean eddies leads to a more realistic Southern Ocean temperature distribution and volume transport. These quantities control the rate of basal melt, which eventually results in Antarctic mass loss. In a model with resolved ocean
more » ... ies, the Southern Ocean temperature changes lead to a smaller Antarctic GMSLR contribution compared to the same model in which eddies are parameterized. As a result, the projected GMSLR is about 25% lower at the end of this century in the eddying model. Relatively small-scale ocean eddies can hence have profound large-scale effects and consequently affect GMSLR projections.
doi:10.1126/sciadv.abf1674 pmid:33837083 fatcat:ei3wy6kcm5cpxh6wkprduylbpa