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 Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

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: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>