In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s predicted sea levels are likely to rise by between 0.26 m and 0.97 m by 2100 – a range encompassing both its highest and lowest emissions scenarios. But according to a new survey of sea level experts, the results of which have been published recently on line in Quaternary Science Reviews, that range might be an underestimate. In the study 90 researchers from 18 different countries were asked for their expert opinion on future sea level rise.Two thirds of those questioned said they thought sea levels could rise higher than the IPCC’s upper estimate for the end of the century.
Over the coming weeks we will introduce members of each team working on the iGlass consortium project. Today we will introduce the University of Southampton members, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.
Dr Ivan Haigh
Ivan is the co-ordinator of the iGlass project. In the last 12 years he has worked on a wide range of projects in both industry and academia covering many different aspects of coastal oceanography, with a particular focus on sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Ivan’s main research interests are:
In this regard, he is interested in all aspects of sea level variations from time scales of minutes (ocean surface waves), hours (seiches, tides), days (storm surges), through to longer term changes (seasonal, inter-annual and longer-term changes in mean sea levels, lunar tidal cycles). He has experience in assessing observational datasets (i.e. tide gauge records, wave buoy data) and tide/surge and wave numerical modelling for short (forecasting, navigation) and long (coupling with climate models to assess past/present and potential future changes in storm surges, extreme sea levels and coastal flooding) term applications.
Prof. Eelco Rohling
Eelco was instrumental in setting up the iGlass project and continues to be very involved despite moving to Australia (to take up the pretigious Australian Laureate Fellowship in Feb 2013). Eelco’s current research aims to understand climate and sea-level change on timescales relevant to longer-term planning, by characterising the relationship between past sea-level and ice-volume change and other key climate factors such as temperature and greenhouse gases, and by quantifying how rapidly sea level may adjust to climate change.
Eelco has received a prestigious UK Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and been a visiting scientist to the Lamont Doherty Earth Observation in the United States, invited Professor at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, the Vice President of Palaeoclimatology of the European Geoscience Union and a Corresponding Fellow at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His most significant research contributions have focussed on the processes of past climate change on decadal to millennial time scales and the consequences of hydrological change on ocean circulation, marine ecosystems, and organic carbon sequestration or burial.
Dr Fiona Hibbert
Fiona is a research fellow and project manager for the iGlass project. She is currently working on a global compilation of data on interglacial sea level changes (derived from corals, speleothems etc.) and information on the past extent and dynamics of ice sheets. Fiona is a palaeoceanographer with keen interest in past climates (especially ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions) and her main research interests are:
Prior to joining iGlass, Fiona worked on (and continues to work on…)
Felicity is at the end of her second year as an iGlass consortium PhD funded by NERC. Felicity’s project involves investigating the relationship between the Red Sea Relative Sea Level curve and global ice volume over the past 500,000 years. To do this she is developing models of global ice volume and combining Glacial Isostatic Adjustment modelling with sea level indicators such as coral data. Mark Tamisiea (Liverpool) and Eelco Rohling (Canberra, Australia), are her two iGlass supervisors. So far she has researched the geological development of the Red Sea, reviewed many, many papers on the collection and dating of coral data, and reviewed the issues associated with determining variations in global ice volume beyond the last glacial maximum. GIA modelling of the Hanish Sill, a critical location associated with the Red Sea Method for determining the Red Sea relative sea level curve, has started to deliver some very interesting results.
Felicity graduated with an MSci Physics from Imperial College in 2000, and spent several years working in the UK Civil Service before returning to academia via the MSc Oceanography at the National Oceanographic Centre, University of Southampton.
Dr. Cheng Zhao
Cheng is a palaeoclimatologist and geochemist working on coral sea level index points. He has been working on the iGlass project since 2012. Prior to this Cheng worked extensively on lake records of Holocene climate (including Tibet and North America) and joined the Southampton team in May 2012 from the University of Hong Kong.
Rising sea levels and subsidence due to ground water pumping, coupled with increasing populations and economic growth in coastal cities, is expected to lead to a greater proportion of people living in low lying regions which will result in higher annual losses from flooding. A Nature Climate Change article, published recently, has estimated the average annual losses from flooding in the world’s largest coastal cities. The analysis shows annual loses from flooding could rise from about $6 billion per year in 2005 to over $1 trillion per year by 2050. Sea level rise and subsidence alone will increase annual losses to around $63 billion by 2050, even if investments are made to maintain flood probabilities at current levels. You can read more about the work here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-012-0234-1.
The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level’s (PSMSL), an important facility responsible for the collection, publication, analysis and interpretation of sea level data from the global network of tide gauges, are holding a workshop on the 28th to 29th Oct 2013 to celebrate their 80th anniversary. Several members of the iGlass team will be attending and presenting at that workshop.
See the following link for details – http://www.psmsl.org/about_us/news/2013/workshop_2013/
We are pleased to launch this new project web-site.
The iGlass consortium, funded by UK Natural Environment Research Council, aims to better understand the processes of ice-sheet and sea-level response to climatic forcing, using data from the recent geological past.