Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have released a new analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery showing the major danger facing coastal communities in response to melting ice sheets and glaciers.
The study confirms the accuracy of previous modeling predictions about the effects of melting sea ice.
The research focused on satellite observation of sea surface height along the Greenland ice sheet. The scientists found that as the sheet loses mass and gravitational pull, sea levels around it go down, but sea levels outside of the region rise.
According to postdoctoral researcher in fluid dynamics and geophysics at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author Sophie Coulson:
“Using sea-surface-height observations from satellites in the way we have independently verifies observations of Arctic and Greenland ice-mass loss and allows us to tease apart contributions to global sea-level rise from individual ice sheets and glacier systems…Accurately predicting regional patterns of sea-level change is absolutely central to understanding the impacts of future climate change and forecasting hazards.”
“As this melting continues, and the water is redistributed around the global oceans, sea level does not rise uniformly…And since every glacier and ice sheet has a unique pattern of sea-level change, these patterns have come to be known as sea-level fingerprints. But despite over half a century of research, these fingerprints have never been unambiguously detected…We predicted what the pattern of sea-level change would be around Greenland using new estimates of ice melting in the area. When we then compared this pattern to satellite observations of sea-level change the fit was remarkable. It was an incredible eureka moment for us when the team saw it — ‘there it is, the sea-level fingerprint!’”
You can find the original study here.