However, the meltwater of glaciers contributed almost as much to the rise in sea level in the period 2003 to 2009 as the two ice sheets: about one third. This is one of the results of an international study with the involvement of geographers from the University of Zurich.
Meltwater pounded at surface in accumulation zone, Columbia Glacier, Alaska, July 2008
Picture: W. Tad Pfeffer
How much all glaciers contribute to global sea-level rise has never been calculated before with this accuracy. An international group of researchers involving two geographers from the University of Zurich has confirmed that melting of glaciers caused about one third of the observed sea-level rise, while the ice sheets and thermal expansion of sea water account for one third each.
So far, estimates on the contribution of glaciers have differed substantially. Now 16 scientists from nine countries have compared the data from traditional measurements on the ground with satellite data from the NASA missions ICESat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite) and GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment).
Combined with a glacier inventory that is available globally for the first time, the researchers were able to determine the glacier mass changes all over the world much more accurately than before. «The extrapolations of local field measurements to large regions and entire mountain ranges traditionally applied sometimes overestimated the ice loss», describes UZH geographer Frank Paul the findings from the satellite measurements. And his fellow colleague Tobias Bolch adds: «We are well aware of the weaknesses of the individual satellite methods. However, in highly glacierized regions the results obtained using the two different methods agree well. With the mix of methods that have now been tested and applied, we have come a major step closer to determining glacier mass loss with higher precision.»Earlier estimates should be corrected
The results published in «Science» have important consequences for past studies: Bolch and Paul conclude by recommending that «Earlier global estimates on the contribution of glaciers to sea-level rise should be revised again».
The UZH geographers Tobias Bolch and Frank Paul contributed important basic data for the study: digital glacier outlines for the global glacier inventory from different regions in the world for which no precise data were previously available. For example for Alaska, Baffin Island, Greenland, the Alps, high-mountain Asia including the Himalayas as well as own calculations on the mass loss in Greenland and in high-mountain Asia.Contact:
Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine
Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences