THE SMALL ICE CAP INSTABILITY IN SEASONAL ENERGY-BALANCE MODELS
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Results from a two-dimensional energy balance model with a realistic land-ocean distribution show that the small ice cap instability exists in the Southern Hemisphere, but not in the Northern Hemisphere. A series of experiments with a one-dimensional energy balance model with idealized geography are used to study the roles of the seasonal cycle and the land-ocean distribution. The results indicate that the seasonal cycle and land-ocean distribution can influence the strength of the albedo feedback, which is responsible for the small ice cap instability, through two factors: the temperature gradient and the amplitude of the seasonal cycle. The land-ocean distribution in the Southern Hemisphere favors the small ice cap instability, while the land-ocean distribution in the Northern Hemisphere does not. Because of the longitudinal variations of land-ocean distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, the behavior of ice lines in the Northern Hemisphere cannot be simulated and explained by the model with zonally symmetric land-ocean distribution. Model results suggest that the small ice cap instability may be a possible mechanism for the formation of the Antarctic icesheet. The model results cast doubt, however, on the role of the small ice cap instability in Northern Hemisphere glaciations. 1992 Springer-Verlag.