Iceland is green, and Greenland is ice…. But for how long?. Images courtesy of NASA. Dr. Sebastian Mernild. As a climate and polar scientist, Dr. Mernild is part of LANL’s Climate Ocean and Sea Ice Model (COSIM) team. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
Iceland is green, and Greenland is ice.
But for how long?Iceland is green, and Greenland is iceImages courtesy of NASA
1Dr. Sebastian MernildAs a climate and polar scientist, Dr. Mernild is part of LANLs Climate Ocean and Sea Ice Model (COSIM) team.
Each summer he travels to Greenland and takes samples of ice cores to gather data on the thickness and density of ice and snow.
He also gathers data on melting ice, melt water runoff, precipitation, snow distribution, and snow pack.
He programs predictive computer models and uses the data he gathered to calibrate his model and make it more accurate.
His research explores the impacts of changing climate on ice sheets.
The Water Cycle
Dr. Mernilds ModelAll of the data Dr. Mernild gathers is used to gauge the accuracy of a complicated computer program called Glimmer Community Ice Sheet Model. This model is programmed using hypotheses (educated guesses) of what climate changes scientists expect to see in the future.
Then observed data (what is actually happening) is gathered over time and this data is compared to the model. The model is tested and realigned as needed to reflect the observed data. After time and continual alignment with observed data, the model becomes more accurate at predicting what will happen in the future.
The Glimmer Community Ice Sheet Model is now fairly accurate at predicting future melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the polar ice caps which are causing sea level rise across the globe.
Some of the FindingsIn the last 150 years, the global temperature has increased 0.7 Celsius (~ 1.4 Fahrenheit)
The arctic region has warmed at twice the global average ~ 1.5 Celsius.
This temperature accounts for a 0.7 mm rise is sea level each year from just the Greenland Ice Sheet
Melting glaciers and ice caps worldwide are resulting in sea level rise of 3.0-3.2 mm per year
The interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet is receiving an annual increase in precipitation (snowfall)
The exterior edges of the Greenland Ice Sheet are melting at faster rates
This beach home was moved to a new location because severe erosion caused by higher tides undercut the sand upon which the house was built.
Increased water in the oceans as well as thermal expansion of the ocean water (due to increased temperatures) will cause more situations like this one.
When sea levels rise, we lose valuable coastline. Some inhabited low lying islands and coasts in India have already sunk below water for miles inland.
Dr. Mernilds ModelThe Glimmer Model offers visual simulations of the models predicted outcomes. They are called simulations because they simulate real life.
The simulations range from the least global temperature change to the greatest global temperature change. This allows researchers to provide data to politicians so that they can understand the range of possible trajectories and can make smarter policy choices for the future.
The simulations also help regular citizens see the impact that we have and motivate us to make positive changes in the way we use energy and in the products and services we purchase.
The SolutionWe need to support more climate research by voting for politicians who support the science of learning about our Earths climate patterns; what factors affect the system, and what can be done to mitigate the negative effects of those factors.
Energy security is related to climate in one important way. Because we get virtually all of our crude oil, our main source for energy, from foreign countries (some of whom are not very friendly toward us), developing alternative and clean energy resources, like solar and wind power which dont release CO2, we can find solutions to both problems.
We can also purchase less stuff. All products, including food, need to be manufactured and shipped, which is energy intensive. How might you make a difference in your eating and purchasing habits?