Scientists expect increased melting of mountain glaciers

January 20, 2006

Sea level rise due to increased melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice caps will be much lower in the 21st Century than previously estimated. However, decay of mountain glaciers in due to global warming will be much more rapid than previously thought. These are the major results of a study conducted in cooperation with the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, which is published in the scientific magazine Nature.

Up to now scientists expected sea level rises of about 40 centimetres due to global climate change. Melting of polar ice caps and mountain glaciers contributes about a quarter, the rest is the result of expansion of ocean waters because of increased water temperature. The present study combines projections of future climate from global climate models to our models of glacier mass balance and volume. For the first time, scientists model the ice caps and the mountain glaciers separately.

“Our paper predicts a relatively low sea level rise from glaciers and icecaps, compared with earlier work, but the local effect of accelerated glacier melt is going to be very important”, says Dr Sarah Raper. “Indeed, it may already be increasing catastrophic damage in the form of glacier lake outbursts in high mountain regions like Nepal”.

“Projections of sea level rise in the 21st Century must be based on models informed by observations”, says Dr Roger Braithwaite. “We certainly need more data on glaciers. Neither the USA nor Canada has completed a national glacier inventory, so we had to model around the gaps in the data. We should at least get reliable information on the larger glaciers”.

Source: Alfred Wegener Institut fuer Polar und Meeresforschung

Explore further: Survey reveals the polarized public perceptions of the Polar regions

Related Stories

CryoSat hits land

December 21, 2012

(Phys.org)—ESA's ice mission is now giving scientists a closer look at oceans, coastal areas, inland water bodies and even land, reaching above and beyond its original objectives.

Polar ice adding more to rising seas: study

March 9, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace, according to a new NASA-funded satellite study. The findings of the study -- the longest to date of changes in polar ice sheet ...

Perspectives on the Nepal earthquake

April 29, 2015

As the death toll continues to rise in Nepal, Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Willis, and PhD student Evan Miles, from the Scott Polar Research Institute contemplate the fate of people in a remote part of the country, where they have ...

Recommended for you

Unusual red arcs spotted on icy Saturn moon Tethys

July 30, 2015

Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys in new, enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

The sound of music, according to physicists

July 30, 2015

Joshua Bodon is sick of hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." More specifically, he's sick of hearing one 25-second clip of the song repeated more than 550 times.

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.