A comprehensive new study authored by University at Buffalo scientists and their colleagues for the first time documents in detail the dynamics of parts of Greenland’s ice sheet, important data that have long been missing from the ice sheet models on which projections about sea level rise and global warming are based.
The research, published online this month in the Journal of Glaciology, also demonstrates how remote sensing and digital imaging techniques can produce rich datasets without field data in some cases.
Traditionally, ice sheet models are very simplified, according to Beata Csatho, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and lead author of the paper.
“Ice sheet models usually don’t include all the complexity of ice dynamics that can happen in nature,” said Csatho. “This research will give ice sheet modelers more precise, more detailed data.”
The implications of these richer datasets may be dramatic, Csatho said, especially as they impact climate projections and sea-level rise estimates, such as those made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“If current climate models from the IPCC included data from ice dynamics in Greenland, the sea level rise estimated during this century could be twice as high as what they are currently projecting,” she said.
Stepping closer to the projections I've been hearing around work for a time now...