Posts tagged "sea level"

Mangroves and mud: Investigating past sea level

Dawn had already broken when our plane touched down on Mahé island, lighting up the cloudy shifting sky and the turquoise waters lapping at the runway’s edge. From my plane window I could already see sheer cliffs of pinky-grey granite rising up from the narrow coastal plain, covered in lush tropical vegetation. I was sleepy, but excited to be here. Mahé is the largest island of the small island nation of Seychelles – a tropical archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. I was visiting for three weeks to begin the field work component of my PhD research. My destination: the mangroves that fringe the western...

Coastal flooding around the UK coastline

Coastal floods, driven by extreme sea levels, are a major hazard both nationally and globally, with wide-ranging social, economic and environmental impacts. Nationally, it is estimate that £150 billion of assets and 4 million people are currently at risk from coastal flooding in the UK [1]. Coastal flooding is rated as the second highest risk for causing civil emergency in the UK, after pandemic influenza [2]. Combined with fluvial flooding, it is responsible for at least £0.25bn in annual economic damages [3]. Coastal flooding is a growing threat due to accelerating average sea-level rise and possible changes in storminess associated with climate change [4] as well...

Antarctic expedition to estimate thinning ice sheets

Antarctica might seem like a desolate and inhabitable continent with little to offer other than perhaps the sight of penguins, but it holds the answers to many scientific questions. Simply put, Antarctica is covered by kilometers-thick ice, frozen water which will melt when sufficiently warmed. Sea level around the world is therefore dependent on how fast Antarctica’s ice sheets melt. My research looks at past changes of ice sheet thickness. As a glacier melts and thins, rocks on its flanks become exposed to the atmosphere (specifically cosmic radiation). A technique called surface-exposure-dating is used to estimate when rocks became exposed at the glacier surface, creating...

IPCC special: Long-term climate projections

Chapter 12 of the 5th Assessment Report of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) deals with future projections of climate change in the long-term. Long-term in this case means beyond the middle of the 21st century when the projections start to depend more strongly on the pathway or scenario of emissions of greenhouse gases, principally CO2. We rely extensively on computer models of the climate system for this as, obviously, there are no observations of the future. While computer models are not completely accurate in their ability to project future climate change, it is possible to use our understanding of the climate system to assess uncertainties...