S.T. Lee Lecture in Antarctic Studies 2018 by Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen
Greenland ice cores tell tales of past sea-level contributions from Antarctica
Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
Thursday 1 November 2018
5.30pm - 6.30pm
Council Chamber, Hunter Building, Level 2, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington
Refreshments will be served following the lecture
Synopsis of lecture
The Greenland ice sheet is reacting to climate change, and is losing progressively more mass every year. One of our challenges in the future is to adapt to rising sea level. Looking into the past provides knowledge on how ice sheets react to changing climate, and this can be used to improve future predictions of sea-level rise. The deep ice cores from Greenland contain information on past climate that goes back more than 130,000 years, telling tales about past abrupt climate and sea-level changes.
The last interglacial, 130,000 to 115,000 years before present, is a key analogue for future climate. At this time, climate was 5°C warmer over Greenland, and global sea level was 6-9 metres higher than present. All the ice cores from Greenland show that the ice sheets survived, making only a modest contributioin to global sea-level rise of approximately 2 metres at this time. These findings imply that Antarctica was a major contributor to sea-level rise during this past warm period, and may respond similarly in the future.