Antarctica and the case of the missing water

Monday 4th of March 2019, 7pm

Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street

Speaker: Derek Fabel

When ice sheets grow, global sea level lowers. At the time of the last glacial maximum, about 22,000 years ago, global sea level was about 132 m lower than it is today. Estimates of the volume of ice held within the North American, Greenland, and Eurasian Ice Sheets add up to an ice-equivalent sea-level change of 104 m, clearly not enough to explain the 132 m. The missing 28 m of sea level rise has previously been attributed to the less well-known Antarctic ice sheet. We now estimate that the Antarctic contribution since the last glacial maximum is closer to 9.9 m. So where did the missing 18.1 m of global sea level come from?

 Derek Fabel works at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre where he is a Geomorphologist (studies Earth surface processes and landforms) and AMS Scientist (measures the concentration of extremely rare cosmogenic isotopes in minerals and organic materials). As Head of the NERC Cosmogenic Isotope Analysis Facility he is involved in quantifying natural processes that shape the surface of the Earth. His own research focuses on quantifying the rate of change of ice masses on our planet, and the effect this had on global sea level. He has participated in four Antarctic expeditions (most recently 2018).