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Author ORCID Identifier



Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Robert DeConto

Second Advisor

Eve Vogel

Third Advisor

Regine Spector

Fourth Advisor

Alan Condron

Fifth Advisor

Ambarish Karmalkar

Subject Categories

Climate | Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations | Oceanography | Physical and Environmental Geography


Anthropogenic climate change is causing disruptions in the Earth system with negative ramifications for life on our planet. Increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations lead to accumulated heat content and the cryosphere is one of the earliest places to show changes in response to rising temperatures. The melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will have myriad effects on global climate due to interconnections and feedbacks between the ice sheet, ocean, and atmosphere. In this dissertation I use numerical modeling and critical geography to assess future climate conditions that occur in response to changes in Antarctic Ice Sheet melt as well as implications for justice and policy.

The guiding questions for this work are:

What is the response of the climate system to freshwater and greenhouse gas forcing when the freshwater forcing is both spatially and temporally variable?

How do climate system response and ice sheet stability co-evolve when a fully coupled global climate model is run in a two way coupling with a dynamic ice sheet model?

What are the climate justice implications of using temperature targets as a metric for climate action, particularly when feedbacks on global mean surface temperature are associated with ice sheet collapse which simultaneously raises sea levels?

Chapters 1-3 provide an introduction to the systems being considered, the methodologies and models used, and a literature review contextualizing this work within the broader literature.

Chapter 4 assesses the future climate response of a climate model to ice sheet discharge provided by a dynamic ice sheet model under increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Chapter 5 describes a methodology for running climate and ice sheet models that are two-way coupled, allowing them to co-evolve. Initial projections of future climate and sea level rise under increasing greenhouse gas forcing are included.

Chapter 6 considers the climate injustices of sea level rise, particularly in regards to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement temperature target. This chapter also presents a case study of the Antarctic Ice Sheet assessing the justice implications of the spatial variability of Antarctic-sourced sea level rise for the Alliance of Small Island States.

Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023