Bristol scientists rewrite the model of global warming
Sophisticated computer modelling by Bristol experts has shown how sea-level rise, caused by global warming, over the coming century could affect some regions far more than others.
The new Bristol University model shows that parts of the Pacific will see the highest rates of rise while some polar regions will actually experience falls in relative sea levels due to the ways sea, land and ice interact globally.
Reporting in the journal Geophysical Research Letters researchers from the university have looked ahead to the year 2100 to show how ice loss will continue to add to rising sea levels.
Scientists have known for some time that sea level rise around the globe will not be uniform, but in this study the team of researchers show in detail the global pattern of sea-level rise that would result from two scenarios of ice-loss from glaciers and ice sheets.
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The Bristol team, working in collaboration with staff at the University of Urbino, found that ice melt from glaciers, and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, is likely to be of critical importance to regional sea-level change in the equatorial Pacific Ocean where the sea level rise would be greater than the average increase across the globe. This will affect western Australia in particular, and the small atolls and islands in the region, including Hawaii.
David Vaughan, ice2sea programme coordinator, said: “In the last couple of years programmes like ice2sea have made great strides in predicting global average sea-level rise. The urgent job now is to understand how global the sea-level rise will be shared out around the world’s coastlines. Only by doing this can we really help people understand the risks and prepare for the future.”
Co-author Professor Jonathan Bamber of Bristol University’s School of Geographical Sciences said: “This is the first study to examine the regional pattern of sea level changes using sophisticated model predictions of the wastage of glaciers and ice sheets over the next century.”