Scientists now have unequivocal evidence of a phenomenon crucial to predicting the impact of climate change.
Researchers announced Thursday that they discovered sea level ‘fingerprint’ Melting of the Greenland ice sheet, indicating the unique pattern of sea level change associated with ice melt.
It is the first time that a fingerprint has been definitively measured. While scientists agreed that these fingerprints exist in theory, the dynamic nature of the ocean has made them difficult to identify with confidence — until now.
The results, which can be achieved with the help of high-resolution satellites, detail the unique pattern of sea level change associated with the Greenland ice sheet. The fingerprints are then taken into account in models to predict sea level rise in general.
This finding confirms and adds confidence to the sea level changes predicted by computational models. These predictions are essential to understanding the consequences of climate change and preparing for future dangers. It is now clear that melting Greenland ice cap hurry up, he said Sophie Coulson Postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Coulson is the lead author of the study that led to the findingswhich was published in the magazine Sciences.
Until recently, the science of fingerprints was limited by a lack of satellite observations – records documented only the southern tip of Greenland, making it difficult to examine the oceans around it.
Almost covered by the Greenland ice sheet 80% The island country contains in huge quantities of frozen water. The rapid melting of the Greenland ice cap is responsible for this 20% of current sea level rise globally, and a recent study Expect its disintegration to raise global sea levels by at least 10 inches, even if people stop burning Fossil fuels.
This study was made possible thanks to the new satellite data he shared Copernicus Marine Services, which is data spanning more than 30 years and extending to higher latitudes. Coulson plugged observations of ice thickness change into a computational model and created a sea-level forecast spanning from 1993 to 2019. Then she compared the prediction with new satellite data—and found a perfect match.
“It was a really exciting moment for us when we first looked at that side-by-side comparison of those observations with the model’s predictions,” Coulson said. “The pictures were amazingly similar.”
It was especially surprising because in geophysics, it’s unusual to prove that something has happened with greater than 99.9% certainty, Coulson explained. But it was clear that the pattern of sea-level change revealed by satellites was a fingerprint of ice sheet melt – and that the estimate of sea-level change predicted by both previous models and the new Coulson model was accurate.
“We can really say with great certainty that sea-level fingerprints are present,” Coulson said. “The theory was correct.”
Fingerprint knowledge can be a tool for predicting the exact change in sea level is crucial because the future of Earth’s oceans is very uncertain.
“We know that global sea level will rise and that the amount and pace of sea level rise will depend on greenhouse gas emissions,” yarrow oxfordsaid via email, an associate professor at Northwestern University who studies the impact of climate change on Greenland’s glaciers and ice sheets. It was not part of Coulson’s study.
“But how quickly the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to warming is really unknown, and frankly very frightening unknown,” said Oxford.
Fingerprints are already being used to inform ocean level forecasts and coastal planning. In the United States, it is estimated 30% of the population live in coastal communities. Each rise in sea level is expected to make coastal storms even more catastrophic for this population.
This is partly because changes in sea level can lead to more destructive storms, one of the deadliest aspects of hurricanes. Hurricane Ian storms with wind and heavy rain wreak havoc Next to Cuba and Florida. Sea-level rise, along with other aspects of climate change, is expected to increase intensity And the repeat from hurricanes.
“We are already forced to adapt to sea level rise around the world, and we need to do more to prepare,” Yarrow said. “Having decent expectations about how quickly our coasts will retreat is essential to making tough decisions and the right big investments now in preparation for future sea-level rise.”
This article was originally published NBCNews.com