Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Bristol UK (SPX) Jan 09, 2013
The study, published in Nature Climate Change, is the first of its kind on ice sheet melting to use structured expert elicitation (EE) together with an approach which mathematically pools experts' opinions. EE is already used in a number of other scientific fields such as forecasting volcanic eruptions.
The ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland contain about 99.5 per cent of the Earth's glacier ice which would raise global sea level by some 63m if it were to melt completely.
The ice sheets are the largest potential source of future sea level rise - and they also possess the largest uncertainty over their future behaviour. They present some unique challenges for predicting their future response using numerical modelling and, as a consequence, alternative approaches have been explored.
One such approach is via carefully soliciting and pooling expert judgements - a practice already used in fields as diverse as eruption forecasting and the spread of vector borne diseases.
In this study Professor Jonathan Bamber and Professor Willy Aspinall used such an approach to assess the uncertainties in the future response of the ice sheets.
They found that the median estimate for the sea level contribution from the ice sheets by 2100 was 29cm with a 5 per cent probability that it could exceed 84cm.
When combined with other sources of sea level rise, this implies a conceivable risk of a rise of greater than 1m by 2100, which would have deeply profound consequences for humankind. The IPCC's report provided figures ranging from 18cm to 59cm for six possible scenarios.
The researchers also found that the scientists, as a group, were highly uncertain about the cause of the recent increase in ice sheet mass loss observed by satellites and equally unsure whether this was part of a long term trend or due to short-term fluctuations in the climate system.
Professor Bamber said: "This is the first study of its kind on ice sheet melting to use a formalized mathematical pooling of experts' opinions.
"It demonstrates the value and potential of this approach for a wide range of similar problems in climate change research, where past data and current numerical modelling have significant limitations when it comes to forecasting future trends and patterns."
This study was part funded by Ice2sea - a major EU-funded programme to improve the projections of future global sea levels. 'An expert judgement assessment of future sea level rise from the ice sheets' by J.L. Bamber and W.P. Aspinall in Nature Climate Change.
University of Bristol
Beyond the Ice Age
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|