Richard Alley talk – Wed March 8 330 pm

Richard Alley will be visiting campus next week and giving a talk that I hope will interest broad swaths of the CoEnv community on Wednesday March 8 from 330-5 pm in JHN 102. It is officially co-sponsored by the Future of Ice Initiative, Quaternary Research Center, and Earth and Space Sciences.
Sea-level rise in the greenhouse—Inconvenient or Unmanageable?

Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University

Warming is causing accelerating sea-level rise. Many economic analyses project small costs, assuming we will respond efficiently to small, slow and expected rise.  Recent responses to sea-level rise raise major questions about our efficiency, however, and scientific advances suggest that rapid warming could cause much larger and faster rise than previously expected. If so, then there is greater value in slowing warming and in managing coasts for resilience.

He will also be giving a second talk on Thursday at the ESS colloquium (in JHN075 which only seats maybe 90), so first come, first serve for seats.

Thursday March 9, 330-5 pm, JHN075

Projecting sea-level rise: History and Physics

Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University


Modest past warming caused major ice-sheet retreat, as shown by a growing body of data including our recent results on the GISP2 rock core and Sirius Formation diatoms.  Physical understanding growing out of ice-shelf losses and lake-drainage events shows that marine ice-sheet retreat in a warming future could be rapid as well as large, if we cause sufficiently high temperatures around the existing ice sheets, especially through Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. Nature may not have run such an experiment, and projections are highly sensitive to fracture behavior; uncertainties almost surely can be reduced, but are likely to remain large.


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