Geophysics Department Seminar: Eric Rignot (JPL NASA) - Melting of the Great Ice Sheets: What is next?
Title: Melting of the Great Ice Sheets: What is next?
The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by 66 meters. Satellites, airborne platforms, in situ experiments and global climate data re-analysis show that these ice sheets are currently losing mass faster, sooner and at a greater rate than projected by numerical models. The mass loss is dominated by the acceleration of outlet glaciers in contact with the ocean, in addition to increased surface melting in Greenland. I will review the tools we use to survey the ice sheets, and our current understanding of the physical processes that govern their mass loss. I will discuss the major uncertainties that limit the capabilities of numerical models to project ice sheet evolution in a warmer climate, and I will contrast the results of expert assessments with the conservative view from the IPCC.