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See detailAnthropogenic forcing dominates global mean sea-level rise since 1970
Slagen, A.; Church, J.; Agosta, Cécile ULg et al

in Nature Climate Change (2016)

Sea-level change is an important consequence of anthropogenic climate change, as higher sea levels increase the frequency of sea-level extremes and the impact of coastal flooding and erosion on the ... [more ▼]

Sea-level change is an important consequence of anthropogenic climate change, as higher sea levels increase the frequency of sea-level extremes and the impact of coastal flooding and erosion on the coastal environment, infrastructure and coastal communities1, 2. Although individual attribution studies have been done for ocean thermal expansion3, 4 and glacier mass loss5, two of the largest contributors to twentieth-century sea-level rise, this has not been done for the other contributors or total global mean sea-level change (GMSLC). Here, we evaluate the influence of greenhouse gases (GHGs), anthropogenic aerosols, natural radiative forcings and internal climate variability on sea-level contributions of ocean thermal expansion, glaciers, ice-sheet surface mass balance and total GMSLC. For each contribution, dedicated models are forced with results from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) climate model archive6. The sum of all included contributions explains 74 ± 22% (±2σ) of the observed GMSLC over the period 1900–2005. The natural radiative forcing makes essentially zero contribution over the twentieth century (2 ± 15% over the period 1900–2005), but combined with the response to past climatic variations explains 67 ± 23% of the observed rise before 1950 and only 9 ± 18% after 1970 (38 ± 12% over the period 1900–2005). In contrast, the anthropogenic forcing (primarily a balance between a positive sea-level contribution from GHGs and a partially offsetting component from anthropogenic aerosols) explains only 15 ± 55% of the observations before 1950, but increases to become the dominant contribution to sea-level rise after 1970 (69 ± 31%), reaching 72 ± 39% in 2000 (37 ± 38% over the period 1900–2005). [less ▲]

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See detailSupraglacial lakes on the Greenland ice sheet advance inland under warming climate
Leeson, A.; Shepherd, A.; Briggs, K. et al

in Nature Climate Change (2015), 5

Supraglacial lakes (SGLs) form annually on the Greenland ice sheet and, when they drain, their discharge enhances ice-sheet flow by lubricating the base and potentially by warming the ice. Today, SGLs ... [more ▼]

Supraglacial lakes (SGLs) form annually on the Greenland ice sheet and, when they drain, their discharge enhances ice-sheet flow by lubricating the base and potentially by warming the ice. Today, SGLs tend to form within the ablation zone, where enhanced lubrication is offset by efficient subglacial drainage. However, it is not clear what impact a warming climate will have on this arrangement. Here, we use an SGL initiation and growth model to show that lakes form at higher altitudes as temperatures rise, consistent with satellite observations. Our simulations show that in southwest Greenland, SGLs spread 103 and 110 km further inland by the year 2060 under moderate (RCP 4.5) and extreme (RCP 8.5) climate change scenarios, respectively, leading to an estimated 48–53% increase in the area over which they are distributed across the ice sheet as a whole. Up to half of these new lakes may be large enough to drain, potentially delivering water and heat to the ice-sheet base in regions where subglacial drainage is inefficient. In such places, ice flow responds positively to increases in surface water delivered to the bed through enhanced basal lubrication and warming of the ice, and so the inland advance of SGLs should be considered in projections of ice-sheet change. [less ▲]

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See detailTemperature-related changes in polar cyanobacterial mat diversity and toxin production
Kleinteich, Julia ULg; Wood, Susanna A.; Küpper, Frithjof C. et al

in Nature Climate Change (2012), 2(5), 356--360

One of the fastest rates of recent climate warming has been reported for the Arctic and the maritime Antarctic1; for example, mean annual temperatures increased by 0.5 C per decade over the Antarctic ... [more ▼]

One of the fastest rates of recent climate warming has been reported for the Arctic and the maritime Antarctic1; for example, mean annual temperatures increased by 0.5 C per decade over the Antarctic Peninsula during the past 50 years2. Owing to their comparatively simple and highly sensitive food webs3, polar freshwater systems, with cyanobacterial mats representing the dominant benthic primary producers4, seem well suited for monitoring environmental perturbation, including climate change5. Prolonged climate change may challenge the resilience, plasticity and adaptability and thus affect the community composition of cyanobacterial mats. We demonstrate that exposing polar mat samples to raised temperatures for six months results in a change in species predominance. Mats exposed to a constant temperature of 8 C or 16 C showed high cyanobacterial diversity, commensurate with an increased presence of cyanobacterial toxins. In contrast, mats held at 4 C and 23 C seemed low in diversity. Our data thus indicate that a temperature shift to 816 C, potentially reached during summer months in polar regions at the present warming rate, could affect cyanobacterial diversity, and in some instances result in a shift to toxin-producing species or to elevated toxin concentrations by pre-existing species that could profoundly alter freshwater polar ecosystems. [less ▲]

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See detailDetecting regional anthropogenic trends in ocean acidification against natural variability
Friedrich, T.; Timmermann, A.; Abe-Ouchi, A. et al

in Nature Climate Change (2012), 2

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