Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Melting Glaciers Raise Sea Level

14.11.2012
Anthropogenic climate change leads to melting glaciers and rising sea level.
Between 1902 and 2009, melting glaciers contributed 11 cm to sea level rise. They were therefore the most important cause of sea level rise. This is the result of a new assessment by scientists of the University of Innsbruck. They numerically modeled the changes of each of the world’s 300 000 glaciers. Until 2100, glaciers could lead to an additional 22 cm of sea level rise.

Since 1900 the global sea level has risen by approximately 20 cm. Melting glaciers are one of the causes – along with warming and thereby expanding sea water, melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and changing terrestrial water storage in dammed lakes and groundwater reservoirs.

Until 2300, we can expect the sea level to rise between 25 and 42 cm due to glacier melt. With 42 cm sea level rise, most of the glaciers of the world will be gone, leaving behind only small remains in very high altitudes.

Ben Marzeion

A team of scientists at the University of Innsbruck has now assessed the contribution of melting glaciers to sea level rise during the 20th century. They numerically modeled each of the world’s roughly 300 000 glaciers and used thousands of on-site measurements to validate the model results.

“These calculations show that between 1902 and 2009, glaciers contributed about 11 cm to sea level rise”, says Dr. Ben Marzeion from the Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics. “This means they were the most important cause of sea level change.” Surprisingly, melt rates were more or less constant over time: While temperatures during the first decades of the 20th century were considerably lower, glaciers were larger and extended into lower and thus warmer areas. Additionally, brief but strong warm episodes in the Arctic led to strong glacier retreat in the Arctic in the 1930s and 1950s.

Alps will lose half of the ice until 2040

Using 15 different climate models, the Innsbruck scientists also investigated the future fate of the glaciers. “There are big regional differences”, says Dr. Marzeion. “Also the future behavior of humankind is important – i.e., how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be emitted.”

In the climate models four different scenarios of future economic, social, and technological development were used to represent different levels of greenhouse gas emissions. “Regions with small glaciers, such as the Alps, will lose a large fraction of their ice during the coming decades”, explains the climate scientist. “In the Alps, half of the ice will be gone by approximately 2040. But in absolute numbers, this loss is relatively small: until then, the Alps will contribute only 0.2 mm to sea level rise.”

Regions with large glaciers, however, will lose a lot of mass in absolute numbers, while a relatively large fraction remains: “In the Canadian Arctic about 70% of the ice will remain in 2100, but this region alone will have contributed about 2 cm to sea level rise by then”, says Ben Marzeion.

Stronger sea level rise ahead

Melting glaciers will raise the sea level between 15 and 22 cm until 2100. “Where we end up within this range is up to us – it mostly depends on how much greenhouse gas we will emit”, says Marzeion. The same is true for the longer term: “Until 2300, we can expect the sea level to rise between 25 and 42 cm due to glacier melt. With 42 cm sea level rise, most of the glaciers of the world will be gone, leaving behind only small remains in very high altitudes.” But also in the future, warming and thus expanding sea water, melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and changing terrestrial water storage have to be added to obtain the full sea level rise.

Reference: Past and future sea-level change from the surface mass balance of glaciers. B. Marzeion, A. H. Jarosch, and M. Hofer. The Cryosphere, 6, 1295-1322, 2012 DOI:10.5194/tc-6-1295-2012 http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tc-6-1295-2012

Contact:
Ben Marzeion
Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics
University of Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 512 507-5482
E-Mail: ben.marzeion@uibk.ac.at

Christian Flatz
Public Relations
University of Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 512 507-32022
Mobil: +43 676 872532022
E-Mail: christian.flatz@uibk.ac.at

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tc-6-1295-2012
http://www.uibk.ac.at

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Elektronenautobahn im Kristall

Physiker der Universität Würzburg haben an einer bestimmten Form topologischer Isolatoren eine überraschende Entdeckung gemacht. Die Erklärung für den Effekt findet sich in der Struktur der verwendeten Materialien. Ihre Arbeit haben die Forscher jetzt in Science veröffentlicht.

Sie sind das derzeit „heißeste Eisen“ der Physik, wie die Neue Zürcher Zeitung schreibt: topologische Isolatoren. Ihre Bedeutung wurde erst vor wenigen Wochen...

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Rätsel um Mott-Isolatoren gelöst

Universelles Verhalten am Mott-Metall-Isolator-Übergang aufgedeckt

Die Ursache für den 1937 von Sir Nevill Francis Mott vorhergesagten Metall-Isolator-Übergang basiert auf der gegenseitigen Abstoßung der gleichnamig geladenen...

Im Focus: Poröse kristalline Materialien: TU Graz-Forscher zeigt Methode zum gezielten Wachstum

Mikroporöse Kristalle (MOFs) bergen große Potentiale für die funktionalen Materialien der Zukunft. Paolo Falcaro von der TU Graz et al zeigen in Nature Materials, wie man MOFs gezielt im großen Maßstab wachsen lässt.

„Metal-organic frameworks“ (MOFs) genannte poröse Kristalle bestehen aus metallischen Knotenpunkten mit organischen Molekülen als Verbindungselemente. Dank...

Im Focus: Gravitationswellen als Sensor für Dunkle Materie

Die mit der Entdeckung von Gravitationswellen entstandene neue Disziplin der Gravitationswellen-Astronomie bekommt eine weitere Aufgabe: die Suche nach Dunkler Materie. Diese könnte aus einem Bose-Einstein-Kondensat sehr leichter Teilchen bestehen. Wie Rechnungen zeigen, würden Gravitationswellen gebremst, wenn sie durch derartige Dunkle Materie laufen. Dies führt zu einer Verspätung von Gravitationswellen relativ zu Licht, die bereits mit den heutigen Detektoren messbar sein sollte.

Im Universum muss es gut fünfmal mehr unsichtbare als sichtbare Materie geben. Woraus diese Dunkle Materie besteht, ist immer noch unbekannt. Die...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Firmen- und Forschungsnetzwerk Munitect tagt am IOW

08.12.2016 | Veranstaltungen

NRW Nano-Konferenz in Münster

07.12.2016 | Veranstaltungen

Wie aus reinen Daten ein verständliches Bild entsteht

05.12.2016 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Hochgenaue Versuchsstände für dynamisch belastete Komponenten – Workshop zeigt Potenzial auf

09.12.2016 | Seminare Workshops

Ein Nano-Kreisverkehr für Licht

09.12.2016 | Physik Astronomie

Pflanzlicher Wirkstoff lässt Wimpern wachsen

09.12.2016 | Biowissenschaften Chemie