Office of Sustainability IUB

Sea level during past warm intervals

Maureen Raymo of Columbia University will give a talk on rising sea levels in our current climate. Tea will begin at 3:30 with the discussion beginning at 4pm in Swain West Room 119 on April 16. 


Published estimates of sea level in the mid-Pliocene (3 Ma), a time cited as potentially analogous to predicted future climate, range between 5 and 35 m above present, with +25 m typically adopted in climate model simulations.  A sea level change of this magnitude implies complete deglaciation of the West Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets and a significantly diminished East Antarctic Ice Sheet.  A few published estimates have been corrected for tectonic uplift but, until recently, none have addressed, or corrected for, glacio-isostatic or dynamic topographic effects.  We modelled the impact of glacial isostatic crustal adjustment on mid-Pliocene shorelines and demonstrate that their modern elevations can deviate from the eustatic signal by tens of meters. This non-eustatic sea-level change is due primarily to residual crustal adjustment associated with ice loading during the last glaciation.  The geographic fingerprints of sea-level change we derive provide a framework to guide efforts to establish the maximum elevation of mid-Pliocene sea level and therefore to assess ice sheet stability in a slightly warmer world.

Wednesday April 16, 2014 04:00 PM
Wednesday April 16, 2014 05:00 PM
Swain West Rm 119
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