May 12, 2021

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Melting Ice Sheets Triggered 60 Feet of Sea Level Rise 14,600 Years Ago

Melting Ice Sheets Triggered 60 Feet of Sea Level Rise 14,600 Years Ago

“New research has found that previous ice loss events could have caused sea-level rise at rates of around 3.6 meters per century, offering vital clues as to what lies ahead should climate change continue unabated,” reports Phys.org:

A team of scientists, led by researchers from Durham University, used geological records of past sea levels to shed light on the ice sheets responsible for a rapid pulse of sea-level rise in Earth’s recent past. Geological records tell us that, at the end of the last ice age around 14,600 years ago, sea levels rose at ten times the current rate due to Meltwater Pulse 1A (MWP-1A); a 500 year, ~18 meter sea-level rise event… The new study uses detailed geological sea-level data and state-of-the-art modelling techniques to reveal the sources… Interestingly, most of the meltwater appears to have originated from the former North American and Eurasian ice sheets, with minimal contribution from Antarctica, reconciling formerly disparate views…

The results are important for our understanding of ice-ocean-climate interactions which play a significant role in shaping terrestrial weather patterns. The findings are particularly timely with the Greenland ice sheet rapidly melting, contributing to a rise in sea levels and changes to global ocean circulation… Lead author Yucheng Lin, in the Department of Geography at Durham University notes, “The next big question is to work out what triggered the ice melt, and what impact the massive influx of meltwater had on ocean currents in the North Atlantic. This is very much on our minds today — any disruption to the Gulf Stream, for example due to melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, will have significant consequences for the UK climate.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.