Quoting: Anonymous Coward 26261700 GSA press release - Sea-Level Rise
3 days ago ... Boulder, Colorado, USA - Sea levels are rising faster than expected from global warming
GSA Annual Meeting Presentation: Could Estimates of the Rate of Future Sea-Level Rise Be Too Low?
Boulder, Colorado, USA - Sea levels are rising faster than expected from global warming, and University of Colorado geologist Bill Hay has a good idea why...
"What's missing from the models used to forecast sea-level rise are critical feedbacks that speed everything up," says Hay. He will be presenting some of these feedbacks in a talk on Sunday, 4 Nov., at the meeting of The Geological Society of America in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA...
"There is an Arctic sea ice connection," says Hay, despite the fact that melting sea ice -- which is already in the ocean -- does not itself raise sea level. Instead, it plays a role in the overall warming of the Arctic, which leads to ice losses in nearby Greenland and northern Canada. When sea ice melts, Hay explains, there is an oceanographic effect of releasing more fresh water from the Arctic, which is then replaced by inflows of brinier, warmer water from the south.
"So it's a big heat pump that brings heat to the Arctic," says Hay. "That's not in any of the models." That warmer water pushes the Arctic toward more ice-free waters, which absorb sunlight rather than reflect it back into space like sea ice does. The more open water there is, the more heat is trapped in the Arctic waters, and the warmer things can get.
Then there are those gigantic stores of ice in Greenland and Antarctica. During the last interglacial period, sea level rose 10 meters due to the melting of all that ice -- without any help from humans. New data suggests that the sea-level rise in the oceans took place over a few centuries, according to Hay.
"You can lose most of the Greenland ice cap in a few hundred years, not thousands, just under natural conditions," says Hay. "There's no telling how fast it can go with this spike of carbon dioxide we are adding to the atmosphere."
This possibility was brought home this last summer as Greenland underwent a stunning, record-setting melt. The ice streams, lubricated by water at their base, are speeding up...