Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

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

Date:
April 24, 2012
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
As the Earth's climate warms, a melting ice sheet produces a distinct pattern of sea level change known as its sea level fingerprint. Now, geophysicists 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.

Shrinking Antarctic ice sheet. Each sheet of melting ice produces a distinct pattern of sea-level change.
Credit: Ben Holt Sr. (South Pasadena, CA), GRACE team, DLR, NASA

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

As 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.

"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," said Carling Hay, a Ph D candidate in the Department of Physics at U of T 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," said 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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. C. Hay, E. Morrow, R. E. Kopp, J. X. Mitrovica. Fostering Advance in Interdisciplinary Climate Science Sackler Colloquium: Estimating the sources of global sea level rise with data assimilation techniques. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1117683109

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Geophysicists employ novel method to identify sources of global sea level rise." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424142259.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2012, April 24). Geophysicists employ novel method to identify sources of global sea level rise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424142259.htm
University of Toronto. "Geophysicists employ novel method to identify sources of global sea level rise." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424142259.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins