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Surface melting on Earth’s ice sheets: linking the past, present, and future

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Friday, 10 November 2017, 3:15


Friday, November 10, 2017. 3:15PM. Surface melting on Earth’s ice sheets: linking the past, present, and future. Luke Trusel, Rowan University. Sponsored by Rutgers Department of Geography. More information here.


Mass losses from Earth’s ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are a major source of global sea level rise. At both poles today, melting at the surface of the ice sheet plays an important, albeit unique role in overall ice sheet mass balance. In Antarctica, surface melting is linked to the abrupt collapses of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula over the last several decades. Glacier acceleration following ice shelf collapse has increased mass losses from Antarctica. In Greenland, surface melting plays a more direct role. Indeed, surface meltwater runoff is the leading mechanism of present-day Greenland ice sheet mass loss. In this presentation, I utilize a synthesis of satellite observations, climate models, and ice core-derived melt records to capture variability in ice sheet surface melt over the recent past, present, and future. On the Antarctic Peninsula, recent surface melt is unprecedented over the last millennium, and is projected to intensify broadly across Antarctic ice shelves over this century closely following emissions scenarios. In Greenland, ice cores reveal that surface melt is similarly unprecedented over at least the last 365 years. At both poles, increasing air temperatures are linked to a non-linear increase in surface melt, underscoring a high sensitivity of ice sheet mass balance to further warming.



Location  Tillett Hall, Room 246, 53 Avenue E, Piscataway, NJ.