- School of Earth Sciences - Research Publications
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ItemAdapting to climate change in Pacific Island countries: the problem of uncertaintyBarnett, J. (Elsevier, 2001)This paper investigates the problem of scientific uncertainty and the way it impedes planning for climate change and accelerated sea-level rise (CC & ASLR) in Pacific Island Countries. The paper begins by discussing the problems CC & ASLR poses for Pacific Island Countries, and it explores the limitations of the dominant approach to vulnerability and adaptation. Next, the paper considers the way scientific uncertainty problematises policies aimed at adaptation to CC & ASLR. It argues that the prevailing approach, which requires anticipation of impacts, is unsuccessful, and the paper proposes a complementary strategy aimed to enhance the resilience of whole island social-ecological systems. Recent developments in the theory and practice of resilience are discussed and then applied to formulate goals for adaptation policy in Pacific Island Countries.
ItemThe Greenland Ice Sheet Response to Transient Climate ChangeRen, D ; Fu, R ; Leslie, LM ; Chen, J ; Wilson, CR ; Karoly, DJ (AMER METEOROLOGICAL SOC, 2011-07)Abstract This study applies a multiphase, multiple-rheology, scalable, and extensible geofluid model to the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). The model is driven by monthly atmospheric forcing from global climate model simulations. Novel features of the model, referred to as the scalable and extensible geofluid modeling system (SEGMENT-Ice), include using the full Navier–Stokes equations to account for nonlocal dynamic balance and its influence on ice flow, and a granular sliding layer between the bottom ice layer and the lithosphere layer to provide a mechanism for possible large-scale surges in a warmer future climate (granular basal layer is for certain specific regions, though). Monthly climate of SEGMENT-Ice allows an investigation of detailed features such as seasonal melt area extent (SME) over Greenland. The model reproduced reasonably well the annual maximum SME and total ice mass lost rate when compared observations from the Special Sensing Microwave Imager (SSM/I) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) over the past few decades. The SEGMENT-Ice simulations are driven by projections from two relatively high-resolution climate models, the NCAR Community Climate System Model, version 3 (CCSM3) and the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate 3.2, high-resolution version [MIROC3.2(hires)], under a realistic twenty-first-century greenhouse gas emission scenario. They suggest that the surface flow would be enhanced over the entire GrIS owing to a reduction of ice viscosity as the temperature increases, despite the small change in the ice surface topography over the interior of Greenland. With increased surface flow speed, strain heating induces more rapid heating in the ice at levels deeper than due to diffusion alone. Basal sliding, especially for granular sediments, provides an efficient mechanism for fast-glacier acceleration and enhanced mass loss. This mechanism, absent from other models, provides a rapid dynamic response to climate change. Net mass loss estimates from the new model should reach ~220 km3 yr−1 by 2100, significantly higher than estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 4 (AR4) of ~50–100 km3 yr−1. By 2100, the perennial frozen surface area decreases up to ~60%, to ~7 × 105 km2, indicating a massive expansion of the ablation zone. Ice mass change patterns, particularly along the periphery, are very similar between the two climate models.
ItemFuture climate change in the Southern Hemisphere: competing effects of ozone and greenhouse gasesArblaster, J. M. ; Meehl, G. A. ; Karoly, D. J. (American Geophysical Union, 2011)Future anthropogenic climate change in the Southern Hemisphere is likely to be driven by two opposing effects, stratospheric ozone recovery and increasing greenhouse gases. We examine simulations from two coupled climate models in which the details of these two forcings are known. While both models suggest that recent positive summertime trends in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) will reverse sign over the coming decades as the ozone hole recovers, climate sensitivity appears to play a large role in modifying the strength of their SAM response. Similar relationships are found between climate sensitivity and SAM trends when the analysis is extended to transient CO(2) simulations from other coupled models. Tropical upper tropospheric warming is found to be more relevant than polar stratospheric cooling to the intermodel variation in the SAM trends in CO(2)-only simulations.
ItemExtraordinary September Arctic sea ice reductions and their relationships with storm behavior over 1979-2008SIMMONDS, IAN ; KEAY, KEVIN (American Geophysical Union, 2009)Dramatic changes have been observed in Arctic sea ice, cyclone behavior and atmospheric circulation in recent decades. Decreases in September ice extent have been remarkable over the last 30 years, and particularly so in very recent times. The analysis reveals that the trends and variability in September ice coverage and mean cyclone characteristics are related, and that the strength (rather than the number) of cyclones in the Arctic basin is playing a central role in the changes observed in that region, especially in the last few years. The findings reinforce suggestions that the decline in the extent and thickness of Arctic ice has started to render it particularly vulnerable to future anomalous cyclonic activity and atmospheric forcing.