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How rapidly is the Antarctic ice melting?

The EU Horizon 2020 TiPACCs project will investigate the probability of sudden and large changes in the sea-level contribution from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Today the experts had a kick-off and met the press in Bergen, Norway.

Published Oct 2, 2019

The TiPACCs project will investigate the probability of sudden and large changes in the sea-level contribution from the Antarctic Ice Sheet that would result from passing tipping points in the marginal seas and at the grounding lines of the floating ice shelves that fringe the ice sheet.
A comprehensive study of the triggering processes will reveal the likelihood of reversibility, while the study of ice-ocean feedbacks will provide insight into the threat of sudden sea-level rise.

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NORCE-researcher and project leader Svein Østerhus. Photo: Gunn Janne Myrseth

Svein Østerhus, a physical oceanographer, uses a hat to illustrate how the ice is affected by temperature changes. Østerhus and his colleagues from other European universities met the press in Bergen on Wednesday the 2nd of October. Experts in glaciology, ice sheet and climate modelling, polar physicist and oceanography, etc. will pool their knowledge and search for answers.

Thus, the project will dramatically improve our knowledge of sudden sea-level rise caused by tipping points in Antarctic climate components.
– Svein Østerhus

Modelling work will deliver parameter estimates of safe operating spaces, and linking these with Southern Ocean observations will contribute to the launch of early-warning indicators for dangerous levels of ocean-induced basal melting of the ice shelves. We will achieve these objectives using a suite of state-of-the art ocean-circulation and ice-flow models run by leading European research groups, greatly enhancing confidence in the results.

The combination of numerical work with existing remote sensing and in-situ observations and paleo-reconstructions is ideal for defining the proximity of the simulated tipping points. With this work, we aim to provide a better understanding of key processes controlling the climate-Earth system that are critical for further improvement in climate projections and reducing uncertainty in climate sensitivity calculations.

We will also assess more accurately the impacts of climate change related to the proximity, rate, and reversibility of tipping points in Antarctic climate components. Furthermore, future climate projections will benefit from our combined use of numerical models and paleo-reconstructions as they allow a better understanding of how the climate system worked during abrupt climatic transitions and under warmer or colder than present-day conditions.

The project will search for tipping points where and when hot water streams will access the cold water underneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
– Svein Østerhus
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The figure shows how ice and water are affected by temperature increases. cop. NORCE

Tipping Points in Antarctic Climate Components (TiPACCs)

Members of the consortium

Svein Østerhus, senior researcher at NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Physical oceanographer

Petra Langebroek, senior researcher at NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Ice sheet and climate modeller

Jørund R. Strømsøe, NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Administrative coordinator

G. Hilmar Gudmundsson, professor at University of Northumbria, Newcastle, UK

Glaciologist

Ricarda Winkelmann, junior professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Potsdam University, Germany

Climate scientist

Adrian Jenkins, Senior Research Scientist at UK Research and Innovation - British Antarctic Survey (UKRI-BAS) and Honorary Professor within the School of Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton, UK

Glaciologist/oceanographer

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Hartmut H. Hellmer, Principal Investigator at Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany

Physical oceanographer

Olivier Gagliardini, Professor at the University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA), France

Polar physicist

Media:

Alphagalileo

NRK Local tv-news
NRK.no

TV2 News 18.30-3.10.2019
TV.2

Khrono

På Høyden

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Kick-off for TiPACCs in Bergen today. From left Ricarda Winkelmann (Potsdam University), G. Hilmar Gudmundsson (University of Northumbria), Adrian Jenkins (British Antarctic Survey), Svein Østerhus (NORCE) og Petra Langebroek (NORCE). Photo: Gunn Janne Myrseth (NORCE)