Until recently, the science of fingerprints was limited by a lack of satellite observations – records only documented the southern tip of Greenland, making it difficult to examine the oceans around it.
Almost covered by the Greenland ice sheet 80% The island country contains in huge quantities of frozen water. The rapid melting of the Greenland ice cap is responsible for this 20% of current sea level rise globally, and a recent study Expect its disintegration to raise global sea levels by at least 10 inches, even if people stop burning Fossil fuels.
This study was made possible thanks to the new satellite data he shared Copernicus Marine Services, which is data spanning more than 30 years and extending to higher latitudes. Coulson plugged observations of ice thickness change into a computational model and created a sea-level forecast spanning from 1993 to 2019. Then she compared the prediction with new satellite data—and found a perfect match.
“It was a really exciting moment for us when we first looked at that side-by-side comparison of those observations with the model’s predictions,” Coulson said. “The pictures were amazingly similar.”
It was especially surprising because in geophysics, it’s unusual to prove that something has happened with greater than 99.9% certainty, Coulson explained. But it was clear that the pattern of sea-level change revealed by satellites was a fingerprint of ice sheet melt – and that the estimate of sea-level change predicted by both previous models and the new Coulson model was accurate.
“We can really say with great certainty that sea-level fingerprints are present,” Coulson said. “The theory was correct.”
Fingerprint knowledge can be a tool for predicting the exact change in sea level is crucial because the future of Earth’s oceans is very uncertain.
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