EAS100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Global Temperature Record, Sea Level Rise, Antarctica

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November 2 2014
ESB 3 - 27
Glaciers
Why glaciers?
Beautiful - good excuse to be in the mountains :)
They have a huge impact on the global enviroment
- Sea level rise/change.
- Ice sheets reflect sunlight - energy balance.
- Large icesheets, very tall and change airflows.
- Oceanic currents change as well. (thermohaline)
Landscape Evolution
- Carves the langscape as glaciers flow
They provide a wealth of information on past climate.
- Water characteristics
- Trapped gas
- Ash layers
- Dust
- Pollen
Paleoclimate records
Temperature record determined from the ratio of heavy
to light oxygen isotopes.
18O / 16O -- lighter isotope more likely to
evaporate in cooler climate.
Every 100k years or so, there is an inter-glacial
period with warm.
Their continued response to climate change will have impact on human
civalization.
West Antartica ice-sheet will collapse 'soonish'
Greenland icesheet is melting
Each represents ~7m sea level rise..
They are dynamic
often roll on a cycle of several years (build up then 'flush')
Glacier: an icemass that becomes large enough to flow under its own
weight
- on a slope
Icesheet: an icemass that becomes large enough to flow under its own
weight
- on a flat plane
Generally, two areas.. an Accumulation area and a Ablation area.
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