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Jacek Piskozub Institute of Oceanology PAS Sopot, Poland

Lecture 6: Climate change threats, (Part II: Arctic climate and global sea level)

Ho Chi Minh City, December 2007

Jacek Piskozub
Hi Chi Minh City lectures, December 2007

Ecosystem approach to valuation of marine coasts: examples from Baltic Sea Marine aerosol source function: approaching the consensus Ocean as the sink and source of climatically important gases Air sea interaction in the global scale: from multidecadal variability to Arctic Oscillation Climate change threats, Part I: Changes in the climate of the tropic Climate change threats, Part II: Arctic climate and global sea level

Polar areas undergo especially strong global warming related change due to strong positive climate feedback of decreasing snow and ice coverage.

Zwally 2006 (AMS polar ice meeting) after... CIA

Forecast: end of the 21th century
Examples of climate modeling result (average for a model set ). Figures show predicted average temperature change for years 2071-2100 comparing with 1910-1990 for IPCC scenarios A2 i B2. The extremely large temperature increase in the Arctic, even by 8 degrees. The same prognoses forecast Arctic precipitation increasing up to 40%.

IPCC Report: Climate Change 2001

In 1972 one could still believe that the Antarctic ice sheet increases its mass due to greater precipitation than evaporation (P-E). The figure shows the P-E as positive everywhere (units are 100 kg m-2 year-1) and snow accumulation (I – increase, D – decrease, N – no change). In 1972 it was not clear whether this balance is the whole picture (ice movement was not deemed important).
Jacobs 1972 (Science)‫‏‬

Ice sheet mass balance

Ice-sheet mass balance depends not only on the P-E difference (precipitation is mostly snow and „evaporation” means also sublimation), but also on the mass of ice flowing to become floating ice-shelves and on the amount of water runoff flowing to the sea over, under and through the ice.
Zwally 2006 (polar ice AMS meeting)‫‏‬

Ice-free Antarctic
Almost the whole West Antarctic is an ice-sheet sitting on the shallow shelf sea bottom. Drilling through ice in point „UpB” showed that West Antarctic was icefree at least once in the latest 750.000 years. Melting West Antarctic ice-sheet would mean a global ocean level increase of 5-6 m, the East Antarctic one (which did not happen in last several million years) would increase the sea level by about 60 m. The difference comes from the fact that West Antarctic ice-sheet already sits on the sea bottom.
Scherer et al. 1998 (Science)‫‏‬

Ice shelves of Antarctic Peninsula

A Larsen B C


Ice shelf positions and average surface temperatures before 1981

Vaughan & Doake 1996 (Nature)‫‏‬

Ice barriers of Antarctic Peninsula are in retreat since 1945. They can exist only with the annual average temperature of > -5 ºC .

Antarctic Peninsula is quickly warming

Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas of our planet.

Observation duration, observed trends of temperature [ºC/century] with error and significance level of the trend.

Vaughan et al. 2001 (Science)‫‏‬

Larsen-A disintegrated in 1995

In summer of 1995, Larsen-B ice shelf lost a fragment of 2400 km2. In the same time (January 5 - February 16) the whole Larsen-A barrier become a field of floating icebergs.
Gammie 1995 (Nature) & NOAA

Larsen-B collapsed in 2002


Why should we care about ice-barriers?

There is a hypothesis that ice-shelves support the continental ice-sheets exactly as the flying buttresses (left) of medieval Gothic cathedrals, supporting part of the ice-sheet weight. This may mean that the ice will flow faster towards the ocean after an ice-shelf collapses. Recently such phenomenon was actually observed.
Alley 2006 (AMS polar ice meeting)‫‏‬

Retreat of Antarctic Peninsula glaciers

87% of AP glaciers retreated since they started to be systematically studied. The retreat started around 1953 and is becoming ever faster (right). The changes fit temperature increase of o 3.5 ºC (glaciers start shrinking between -9 and -5 ºC)

Cook et al. 2005 (Science)‫‏‬

Ice streams of the Antarctic

The Antarctic ice streams move even 1500 m/year. Suming up the P-E anomalies and ice-stream movements in 2002 gives -48 ± 14 km3/year (ice loss) for West Antarctic and +22 ± 23 km3/year (ice gain) for East Antarctic.
Rignot & Thomas 2002 (Science)‫‏‬

Is the Antarctic becoming colder?

Interpolation of the extremely undeveloped meteorological network of the Antarctic, seems to show that the interior became colder between 1966 and 2000, especially in summer and autumn, but also annually (top). Cooling of the atmosphere (at east the stratosphere) over the Antarctic may be connected with the deepening of the ozone hole (ozone absorbs in the ultraviolet).

Doran et al. 2002 (Nature)‫‏‬

The Antarctic ozone hole

Cumulation in the atmosphere of man made freons created a spring minimum of ozone concentration (the „ozone hole”).
Doran et al. 2002 (Nature)‫‏‬

Ozone hole problem is not over, yet

Freons which destroy the stratospheric ozone are no longer produced but the situation over the Antarctic has not yet improved although 2007 was better than recent years. Ozone hole is at maximum in spring (September and October in the Southern Hemisphere).

Is there more snow falling in the Antarctic?

Data from ice cores and accumulation models do not show any significant increase trend in Antarctic snowfall during the latest 50 years.

Monaghan et al. 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Ocean can also melt glaciers

Warming of the ocean intermediate waters may also increase melting of glaciers (ice barriers) sitting on continental shelfs (for example Pine Island glacier) with its base 1000 m below the sea level which loses 1.5 m yearly close to its grounding line.
Bindschadler 2006 (Science); Shepard et al 2001 (Science)‫‏‬

Solution from outer space: gravity

The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission three years of Antarctic gravity field measurements (shown monthly) show large ice losses: -152 ± 80 km3/year which corresponds to +0.4 ± 0.2 mm/year ocean level change (East 0 ± 56 km3/year and Zachodnia Antarctic -148 ± 21 km3/year)
Velicogna & Wahr 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Balance of balances

Ice mass balance (separate!) for East (top) and West (bottom) Antarctic is becoming more and more negative (especially in WA). Improvement of measurement methods, climate change or both?
Cazenave 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Summary 1/3
Antarctic Peninsula belongs to the fastest warming areas of Earth. This results in ice shelf collapse and velocity increase of ice streams.  The West Antarctic ice-sheet rests mostly on continental shelf (below sea level). During the last million years it was free of Mission GRACE: two satellites ice at least once. Its total melting would (American and German) measuring increase ocean level by about 6 m. precisely the distance between them  The East Antarctic ice-sheet seems stable. We are not even sure whether its temperature increases or decreases.  However, the hypothesis of increasing East Antarctic ice-sheet mass due to increased snow precipitation has not been confirmed..  Antarctic ice mass balance done using the gravimetric method shows stable mass of the East Antarctic and ice loss in the West Antarctic (translating into a +0.4 ± 0.2 mm/year ocean level change)

Greenland during the previous interglacial...

Melting the ice-sheet of Greenland would increase global sea level by about 7 m. During the previous interglacial (circa 120 ka), when the sea level was 7 m higher than at present, Greenland was responsible for 4 to 5 m. The figure shows possible extend of the ice-sheet at the time; the most probable variant is somewhere between b) and c).
Cuffey & Marshal 2000 (Nature)‫‏‬

... and in future

Greenland ice-sheet today and results of modeling its future as a function of CO 2 atmospheric concentration and year. After being melted, Greenland ice-sheet will not return to present state even if the temperature does. The ice-sheet creates its own micro-climate which cools Greenland. For re-glaciation of Greenland, one would need a full new glacial era.

Alley et al. 2005 (Science)‫‏‬

Czy roztopimy Grenlandię

There are estimates that only 3 ºC average yearly temperature increase is needed to melt Greenland ice-sheet. The figures show yearly (top) and summer (bottom) predicted temperature increases with different IPCC future climate scenarios. Most scenarios reach the threshold temperature before 2100. However melting Greenland would probably take as long as 1000 years.
Gregory, Huybrechts & Raper 2004 (Nature)‫‏‬

Water is the glacier lube

Horizontal glacier velocity (top), and sometimes also the vertical component (middle) is proportional to the number of days with positive surface temperature. The only way such signal can penetrate to the glacier bottom is with water which works as lubricant.
Zwally et al. 2002 (Science)‫‏‬

Faster melting of Greenland in recent years

In recent years acceleration of Greenland melting, reaching into higher altitudes has been observed. The photo shows mis-June satellite photographs of the same area in three consecutive years (Attention: bottom panel should be dated 2003!) showing progressing area of summer ice melting.

Schiermeier 2004 (Nature)‫‏‬

Glaciers move faster and faster

Velocity of Jakobshavn Isbrae the largest glacier (ice stream) of Greenland from satellite radar altimetry in February 1992 and October 2000. Left, velocity as a unction of distance from the glacier 1985 front (feature tracking on Landsat photos) for different years. The glacier seems to accelerate significantly in recent years.
Joughin et al. 2004 (Nature)‫‏‬

Jakobshavn Isbrae retreats since 19th century

Figure shows the glacier front and temperatures in meteorological stations marked on the Greenland map. Joughin 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Front line of the Jakobshavn glacier

Melting of the Greenland ice sheet: 1992 i 2005

Gravimetry results: accelarating ice loss
Gravity measurement by the GRACE mission made it possible to calculate Greenland ice balance. The result -248 ± 36 km3/year is enough to increase world sea level by +0.5 ± 0.1 mm/year. Earlier Greenland ice balances gave results from -0.02 to +0.09 mm/year. Dividing Greenland into two areas (top) made it possible to estimate ice loss of the North (blue line and red trend) and South(green line and blue trend) Greenland; respectively -161 ± 24 km3/year and 83 ± 18 km3/year.

Velicogna & Wahr 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Balance of balances

Mass balance of Greenland ice changes to more negative – most probably the result of both measurement improvements as the actual climate change.
Cazenave 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

For the statisticians

Listing the ice sheet mass balances of East Antarctic (EAIS), West Antarctic (WAIS), the total Antarctic (AIS) and Greenland (GIS) ice sheets.
Shepard & Wingham 2007 (Science)‫‏‬

Alley 2006 (polar ice AMS meeting)‫‏‬

Other glaciers

Melting of Canada, Alaska, Svalbard and mountain glaciers according IPCC 2007 report increase the sea level by 0.77 ± 0.22 mm/year (out of the total increase of 3.1 ± 0.7 mm/year). If we add the GRACE mission results of 2006 (not taken into account by IPCC in 2007), the balance closure is almost full: 0.4 + 0.5 + 0.77 + 1.6 = 3.27 ≈ 3.1 mm/year (errors are much larger than the difference) Figure: Smith et al. 1975 (Science)‫‏‬

Summary 2/3
Greenland during the previous interglacial was partly ice free. Increasing the annual average temperature by 3 ºC should be enough to melt the ice-sheet within 1000 years This would increase the global sea level by about 7 m.  In recent years ice surface below 2000 m altitude melts increasingly fast which results in faster movement of the whole ice streams towards the sea.  Above 2000 m altitude, increased snowfall results in positive mass change but the equilibrium altitude increases.  Total Greenland gravimetrically measured mass balance is negative and corresponds to between 2 and 5 Water from melting glacier surface is a mm/year ocean level increase. This lubricant which increases the ice slide (Zwally 2002 – Science cover)‫‏‬ trend seems to accelerate fast.

Asymetria zmian pokrycia lodem mórz Arktycznych i Antarktycznych

Od roku ok. 1980 obserwuje się przeciwstawne trendy pokrycia oceanu lodem: - malejący trend w Arktyce (na górze) - rosnący trend w Antarktyce (na dole) Niesymetryczne zmiany między tymi obszarami związane są zwykle ze zmianą proporcji wody głębinowej (cyrkulacja termohalinowa) produkowanej na Północy oraz na Południu. Czy tak jest i tym razem?

Cavalieri et al. 1997 (Science)‫‏‬

Arctic Seas


Karcher et al. 2003 (JGR)‫‏‬

Predicted warming of the Arctic

Average change (DJF) of Arctic winter (DJF) temperature between 1980-1999 and 2070-2089 prognosed assuming B1 IPCC scenario (using 14 general circulation climate models) Walsh 2006 (IARC overview) after IPCC

Waking up of the Arctic

Changes in the Arctic Sea were first noticed in 1996.
Macdonald 1996 (Nature)‫‏‬

Inflow of warm Atlantic waters into Arctic Ocean

Results of Atlantic water inflow modeling for 1979 and 1993 (and their difference) using a Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California model with meteorological forcing assimilation
Maslowski i inni, 2000

Filling Arctic Ocean with warm water

The Atlantic warm water “signal” moves into the Arctic results of measurements (red lines) and model (dashed lines). The marker colors describe the same warm water “signals”.
(Polyakov i inni, 2005)‫‏‬

The Arctic “cold halocline”

The Arctic (or “cold”) halocline is a layer of cold and relatively fresh water over warm and salty Atlantic waters (more correctly halocline should mean the border between the waters). Cold surface water comes from the Siberian rivers and from sea ice melting (sea ice rejects salt when freezing).

On the way to Arctic Ocean

Anomaly of heat content and water currents (arrows) of Atlantic waters at 100 m depth. Walczowski i Piechura, 2006 (Geophysical Research Letters)‫‏‬

Water temperature ( Year 2006) , level 100 m. and heat flux [W/m^2]
Heat flux [w/m^2] -90 to -40 -40 to 0 0 to 10 10 to 20 20 to 40 40 to 90

7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0

Cruise of Kapitan Dranicin, summer 2006

RESULTS from M1 Mooring
Three-year long temperature record from M1 mooring



Exceptionally strong warming in the Atlantic Water layer has been recorded since February 2004
NABOS 2006 Expedition

Arctic Expedition for K-12 Teachers

Maslowski 2006

Younger sea ice
Ice age in September from drifters and modeling. The ice is increasingly younger. This must mean that its volume is decreasing faster than its surface area. Acoustic measurements from nuclear submarines show a similar trend
Richter-Menge et al. 2006 (State of the Arctic)‫‏‬

Prognoses of Arctic sea ice extent (2007)

Percentage of sea ice coverage of Arctic Ocean in March and September 20752084 for scenario A1B modeled using CCSM3. The state of our knowledge and modeling prowess in 2007.
Serreze, Holland & Stroeve 2007 (Science)‫‏‬

Niestety nasze modele są zbyt optymistyczne

Pokrycie Oceanu Arktycznego lodem we wrześniu; modele (błękitny pas) i 9-letnią średnią pomiarów (czerwona linia). Modele przewidują zbyt wolne zmiany w porównaniu z zachodzącymi. Jeśli przedłużyć czerwoną linię... after Stroeve et al. 2007 (Geophysical Review Letters)‫‏‬

2007 brought a record summer sea ice loss...

In summer 2007 (left), the North-Western sea passage through Arctic Canada was free of ice first time in recorded history. The previous record year was 2005 (right).

September ice extent from 1979 to 2007 changed from Meier Strove Fetterer 2007 (Annals of Glaciology)

Sea level changes measured from satellite

On average (1993-2003) sea level rises by 3.1 ± 0.7 mm/year of which thermal expansion explains 1.6 ± 0.5 mm/year (IPCC 2007 Report).
Cabanes, Casenave & Le Provost 2001 (Science)‫‏‬

We still cannot model the geographic distribution

Four models out of several used by IPCC: the geographic distributions of sea level changes in the 21th century are quite different (unit is meter/century).
Church 2001 (Science)‫‏‬

Predicted sea level changes

The predicted rate of sea level change in many scenarios is even slower than the present one (1993-2003). Can it be correct?
IPCC Report: Climate Change 2001

Results from different general circulation models

Distribution of sea rise predictions for one climate change scenario (IS92a) modeled with several general circulation models. after IPCC Report: Climate Change 2001

Sea rise rate proportional to temperature?

Up to now, the sea level rise rate correlated well (r = 0.88) with average Earth temperature (top). Right the smoothened measured rate of sea level rise (red) and calculated using a linear dependence on mean Earth temperature rise over previous equilibrium (blue with standard deviation marked). Below measured sea level (red) and integrated sea level rise (blue) from the same simple formula.

Rahmstorf 2007 (Science)‫‏‬

IPCC is already wrong...
IPCC scenarios start in 1990. Temperature increase between 1990 and 2006 (solid line in middle panel) forced by CO2 increase (top panel) overlaps the top part of IPCC forecasts (dashed lines are for ΔT2x= 3.0 ºC while the grey zone is for range of 1.7-4.2 ºC). However, IPCC forecasts of sea level rise (dashed blue line is the average and grey forecast the range from different models) underestimate satellite measurements (solid blue line) and tide gauges (solid red). The center of IPCC forecast is 2 mm/year while the measured trend has recently been 3.3 mm/year.

Rahmstorf et al. 2007 (Science)‫‏‬

IPCC sea level forecasts severely underestimated?

IPCC 2001 report predict 21th century sea level rise for 21-77 cm/century. Calculating it from IPCC temperature rise predictions and Rahmstorf linear dependence of sea level rise rate gives 55-125 cm/century (50-140 cm/century when taking account for statistical error).
Rahmstorf 2007 (Science)‫‏‬

Summary 3/3

Since 1993 Arctic Ocean fill up with warm Atlantic waters (making North Atlantic less salty at the same time). Arctic sea ice is disappearing even faster than predicted by the pessimistic forecasts. Last season 2007 was a record low with the North-Western Passage free of ice for the first time in recorded history. IPCC models predict sea level increase (due to glacial melting and Nuclear submarines were until recently the water heat expansion) of up to 77 cm one of the few sources of data on Arctic Ocean sea ice before 2100.

However, the prognoses seem too conservative as already the sea level increases faster (3.3 mm/year) than any IPCC forecasts.  If the sea level rise rate will continue to be proportional to average Earth temperature rise, the sea level rise in the 21th century may be greater than 1 meter.