Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study suggests future sea-level rises may be even higher than predicted

18.12.2007
A new study of past sea levels shows that they rose by an average of 1.6 metres every one hundred years the last time the Earth was as warm as it is predicted to be later this century, with levels reaching up to six metres above those seen today. The findings suggest that current predictions of sea-level rises may be too low.

The study by a consortium of scientists from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton and research centres in Tübingen (Germany), Cambridge and New York, is published this week in the new journal Nature Geoscience.

The rate of future sea level rise is one of the crucial uncertainties in projections of future climate warming. During the last interglacial (124 to 119 thousand years ago), also known as the Eemian or Marine Isotope Stage 5e, the Earth's climate was warmer than it is today, due to a different configuration of the planet's orbit around the Sun.

It was also the most recent period in which sea levels reached around six metres (20 feet) above the present, due to melt-back of ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica. The new results provide the first robust documentation of the rates at which sea level rose to these high positions.

Lead author, Professor Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science, based at the National Oceanography Centre, said: 'There is currently much debate about how fast future sea level rise might be. Several researchers have made strong theoretical cases that the rates of rise projected from models in the recent IPCC Fourth Assessment are too low. This is because the IPCC estimates mainly concern thermal expansion and surface ice melting, while not quantifying the impact of dynamic ice-sheet processes. Until now, there have been no data that sufficiently constrain the full rate of past sea level rises above the present level.

'We have exploited a new method for sea level reconstruction, which we have pioneered since 1998, to look at rates of rise during the last interglacial. At that time, Greenland was 3 to 5°C warmer than today, similar to the warming expected 50 to 100 years from now. Our analysis suggests that the accompanying rates of sea level rise due to ice volume loss on Greenland and Antarctica were very high indeed. The average rate of rise of 1.6 metres per century that we find is roughly twice as high as the maximum estimates in the IPCC Fourth Assessment report, and so offers the first potential constraint on the dynamic ice sheet component that was not included in the headline IPCC values.'

The researchers' findings offer a sound observational basis for recent suggestions about the potential for very high rates of sea-level rise in the near future, which may exceed one metre per century. Current ice-sheet models do not predict rates of change this large, but they do not include many of the dynamic processes already being observed. The new results highlight the need for further development of a better understanding of ice-sheet dynamics in a changing climate.

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>