Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Geophysicists employ novel method to identify sources of global sea level rise

As the Earth's climate warms, a melting ice sheet produces a distinct and highly non-uniform pattern of sea-level change, with sea level falling close to the melting ice sheet and rising progressively farther away. The pattern for each ice sheet is unique and is known as its sea level fingerprint.

Now, a group of geophysicists from the University of Toronto, Harvard and Rutgers Universities have found a way to identify the sea level fingerprint left by a particular ice sheet, and possibly enable a more precise estimate of its impact on global sea levels.

"Our findings provide a new method to distinguish sea-level fingerprints in historical records of sea levels, from other processes such as ocean waves, tides, changes in ocean circulation, and thermal expansion of the ocean," says Carling Hay, a Ph D candidate in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto and lead author of a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). "It may indeed allow us to estimate the contributions of individual ice sheets to rising global sea levels."

Scientists around the world are trying to estimate both the current rate of sea level rise and the rates of ice sheet melting, and yet little work has been done to combine the two problems and answer these questions simultaneously.

Hay and colleagues Jerry Mitrovica and Eric Morow of Harvard University, and Robert E. Kopp of Rutgers University sought out statistical techniques that had not previously been applied to this problem, and began developing the new method using data analysis techniques common in other fields such as engineering science, economics, and meteorology. The researchers then tested and refined the method by applying it to synthetic data sets – i.e., data sets with the same amount of noise as real data, but with known melting signals. The tests provide important guidance for the application of the method to actual sea-level records.

"We are now applying our methodology to historical sea level records to provide a new estimate of total sea level rise and the melt rates of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, over the 20th century," says Hay. "Preliminary results show intriguing evidence for acceleration of globally averaged sea-level rise in the second half of the period, along with a simultaneous rise in temperature. Once our study of historical records is complete, the next step will be to incorporate satellite-based measurements of sea-level changes."

The findings are reported in the paper "Estimating the sources of global sea level rise with data assimilation techniques." The research is supported by funding from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Harvard University, and the US Department of Energy American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship Program.

Carling Hay
Department of Physics
University of Toronto
Sean Bettam
Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science
University of Toronto

Sean Bettam | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Wandering greenhouse gas
16.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System
14.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>