Scientists expect increased melting of mountain glaciers

Jan 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: NASA's Dawn spacecraft moves in on dwarf planet Ceres

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Extreme science in the Arctic

Feb 25, 2015

A research team from Northwestern University was dropped by helicopter in the desolate wilderness of Greenland with four weeks of provisions and the goal of collecting ancient specimens preserved in Arctic lakebeds.

Mars hills hide icy past

Feb 19, 2015

A complex network of isolated hills, ridges and small basins spanning 1400 km on Mars is thought to hide large quantities of water-ice.

CryoSat hits land

Dec 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

Mar 09, 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 ...

Recommended for you

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

13 hours ago

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European ...

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

14 hours ago

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

User comments : 0

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.