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Ponds on the Ocean

Sea-Level Rise Due to Polar Ice-Sheet Mass Loss During Past Warm Periods

A. Dutton, A.E. Carlson, A.J. Long, G.A. Milne, P.U. Clark, R. DeConto, B.P. Horton, S. Rahmstorf, M.E. Raymo
Published July 10 2015 in Science

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Abstract:

“Interdisciplinary studies of geologic archives have ushered in a new era of deciphering magnitudes, rates, and sources of sea-level rise from polar ice-sheet loss during past warm periods. Accounting for glacial isostatic processes helps to reconcile spatial variability in peak sea level during marine isotope stages 5e and 11, when the global mean reached 6 to 9 meters and 6 to 13 meters higher than present, respectively. Dynamic topography introduces large uncertainties on longer time scales, precluding robust sea-level estimates for intervals such as the Pliocene. Present climate is warming to a level associated with significant polar ice-sheet loss in the past. Here, we outline advances and challenges involved in constraining ice-sheet sensitivity to climate change with use of paleo–sea level records.”

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