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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 8, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1995

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS...
SEA LEVEL


Item #d95nov58

"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, 1995.

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.


Item #d95nov59

"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.


Item #d95nov60

"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.


Item #d95nov61

"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 +3.90.8 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.


Item #d95nov62

"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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