February 28, 2007
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Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 8, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1995
"An Heuristic Model for Sea Level Rise Due to the Melting of Small
Glaciers," T.M.L. Wigley (Univ. Corp. for Atmos. Res., Boulder CO 80307),
S.C.B. Raper, Geophys. Res. Lett., 22(20), 2749-2752, Oct. 15,
Previous projections of sea level rise due to ice melt from glaciers and
small ice caps have used simple models with conceptual weaknesses, calibrated
using data that have since been revised. This paper presents an improved model
that accounts for regional variations in the altitudinal ranges of the world's
glaciers, calibrated using revised data. Because of compensating factors, the
new projections are similar to earlier ones, but their methodological basis is
far more sound. Large uncertainties remain.
"Sea Level," C. Woodroffe (Sch. Geosci., Univ. Wollongong, New
South Wales 2522, Australia), D. Nash, Progress in Physical Geog., 19(3),
391-398, Sep. 1995.
Examines recent research findings concerning present (and anticipated
future) sea level, Quaternary sea level fluctuations, the response of coastal
landforms to sea level change, and the use of biological indicators of sea level
change. Thermal expansion of sea water as a result of a rise in global mean
surface air temperature is considered a major component in sea level rise; ice
melt contributes less clearly. Precipitation patterns, rather than temperature
changes, are the dominant influence on the mass balance of ice sheets, but
changes in ice sheets appear unlikely to contribute significantly to future sea
level rise. Satellite altimetry will ultimately allow reliable monitoring of
global sea level changes. Effective sea level may also change regionally because
of a change in storm frequency.
"The Dynamic Response of High Arctic Glaciers to Global Warming and
Their Contribution to Sea-Level Rise," J.K.-W. Lam (Scott Polar Res. Inst.,
Univ. Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1ER, UK), J.A. Dowdeswell, World Resour. Rev.,
7(2), 254-267, June 1995.
Investigates whether the increased melting of snow due to global warming
would be offset by increased snowfall, using a numerical iceflow/energy balance
model developed to examine the interactions of glaciers with climate change.
Finds that even with no further warming, high Arctic ice masses will continue to
retreat, and future warming will accelerate this retreat, contributing to sea
level rise. Even a significant increase in precipitation with the warming will
only slightly offset the retreat.
"Global Mean Sea Level Variations from TOPEX/POSEIDON Altimeter
Data," R.S. Nerem (NASA-Goddard, Code 926, Greenbelt MD 20771), Science,
268(5211), 708-711, May 5, 1995.
Satellite altimeter measurements of global mean sea level have been made
every ten days over the last two years with a precision of 4 millimeters, which
approaches the requirements of climate change research. The estimated rate of
sea level change is +3.9±0.8 millimeters per year. Much of this trend may
be short-term variation; a longer time series is necessary before climate change
signals can be unequivocally detected.
"Coastal Sea Level and the Large-Scale Climate State: A Downscaling
Exercise for the Japanese Islands," M. Cui (Inst. Oceanog., Academia
Sinica, 7 Nan-Hai Rd., Qingdao, China), H. von Storch, E. Zorita, Tellus,
47A(1), 132-144, Jan. 1995.
Current climate models simulate reasonably well the effect on global sea
level rise of thermal expansion from global warming. But another factor
affecting local sea level is the climatic alteration of regional patterns of
atmospheric and oceanic circulation. This study presents a method to infer
coastal sea level change using a statistical "downsizing" strategy,
based on a linear statistical model that relates a multi-year set of local sea
level data to large-scale atmospheric and oceanic patterns. Application of the
approach to the Japanese coast shows that sea level there is related to regional
and North Pacific sea surface temperature, and sea level air pressure.
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