Accessibility navigation

Foreword: International Space Science Institute (ISSI) workshop on the Earth’s cryosphere and sea level change

Bengtsson, L. (2011) Foreword: International Space Science Institute (ISSI) workshop on the Earth’s cryosphere and sea level change. Surveys in Geophysics, 32 (4-5). pp. 315-317. ISSN 1573-0956 (special Issue: ISSI Workshop on the Earth's Cryosphere and Sea Level Change)

Full text not archived in this repository.

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10712-011-9136-0


Rising sea level is perhaps the most severe consequence of climate warming, as much of the world’s population and infrastructure is located near current sea level (Lemke et al. 2007). A major rise of a metre or more would cause serious problems. Such possibilities have been suggested by Hansen and Sato (2011) who pointed out that sea level was several metres higher than now during the Holsteinian and Eemian interglacials (about 250,000 and 120,000 years ago, respectively), even though the global temperature was then only slightly higher than it is nowadays. It is consequently of the utmost importance to determine whether such a sea level rise could occur and, if so, how fast it might happen. Sea level undergoes considerable changes due to natural processes such as the wind, ocean currents and tidal motions. On longer time scales, the sea level is influenced by steric effects (sea water expansion caused by temperature and salinity changes of the ocean) and by eustatic effects caused by changes in ocean mass. Changes in the Earth’s cryosphere, such as the retreat or expansion of glaciers and land ice areas, have been the dominant cause of sea level change during the Earth’s recent history. During the glacial cycles of the last million years, the sea level varied by a large amount, of the order of 100 m. If the Earth’s cryosphere were to disappear completely, the sea level would rise by some 65 m. The scientific papers in the present volume address the different aspects of the Earth’s cryosphere and how the different changes in the cryosphere affect sea level change. It represents the outcome of the first workshop held within the new ISSI Earth Science Programme. The workshop took place from 22 to 26 March, 2010, in Bern, Switzerland, with the objective of providing an in-depth insight into the future of mountain glaciers and the large land ice areas of Antarctica and Greenland, which are exposed to natural and anthropogenic climate influences, and their effects on sea level change. The participants of the workshop are experts in different fields including meteorology, climatology, oceanography, glaciology and geodesy; they use advanced space-based observational studies and state-of-the-art numerical modelling.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31652

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation