Blog Archive

Friday, December 19, 2008

W. T. Pfeffer, J. T. Harper, & S. O'Neel: Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise

Science, 5 September 2008, Vol. 321, No. 5894, pp. 1340-1343
DOI: 10.1126/science.1159099


Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise

W. T. Pfeffer,1* J. T. Harper,2 and S. O'Neel3

On the basis of climate modeling and analogies with past conditions, the potential for multimeter increases in sea level by the end of the 21st century has been proposed. We consider glaciological conditions required for large sea-level rise to occur by 2100 and conclude that increases in excess of 2 m are physically untenable. We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 m by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 m. These roughly constrained scenarios provide a "most likely" starting point for refinements in sea-level forecasts that include ice flow dynamics.

1 Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
2 Department of Geosciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA.
3 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA 92093, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Link to abstract:

No comments: