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Why is projecting the sea level contribution from ice sheets so tricky

Dr. Sophie Marie Jeanne Nowicki (Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Fri, February 9, 2018, 10:30am - 11:30am

Video Broadcast

Host: Ginny Catania

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, and the dominant source of uncertainty when projecting sea level. Remote sensed observations have revealed that the contemporary ice sheets are losing mass, and that their current contribution to sea level is accelerating. Whether the rate of sea level rise from the ice sheets will continue at the same pace, or what future sea level should our society prepare for, are questions that are very tricky to answer. In this presentation, I review the challenges faced by ice sheet models, along with developments that are required to make meaningful projections of Greenland and Antarctica on the timescale of the next IPCC assessment report. Finally, I will introduce the Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6), which has the key objective of improving projections of sea level from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, along with increasing our understanding of the cryosphere in a changing climate. These goals map into both "Melting Ice and Global Consequence" and "Regional Sea-level Change" Grand Challenges relevant to the World Climate Research Program.