UNH Scientists Receive NASA Funds to Measure Impact of Melting Mountain Glaciers for Next IPCC Assessment

UNH Scientists Receive NASA Funds to Measure Impact of Melting Mountain Glaciers for Next IPCC Assessment

Nov 30, 2011

Scientists in the Water Systems Analysis Group in the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) have been funded by NASA to improve estimates of how melting mountain glaciers around the globe will contribute to sea level rise in the future. The data will be a critical new element in the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The multi-institution project also involves scientists from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the Ohio State University. The three-year study will estimate and predict the contribution of mountain glaciers to sea level for the last decade and out to the end of this century. The interdisciplinary work combines glaciology, meteorology, hydrology, satellite remote sensing, and sea-level research.

“Our role in this project is to plug new meltwater estimates into the global water balance/river transport model we developed here at UNH and move it all downstream to gauge potential sea level rise,” says co-investigator and lead UNH scientist Richard Lammers. “It’s an accounting of the world’s water under changing conditions.”

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988. Thousands of scientists from all over the world reflecting a range of views and expertise contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. They review and assess the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide. This enables the IPCC to provide a rigorously developed, balanced, scientific view on
the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts to governments and other decision makers.

Berrien Moore III, founding director of UNH's EOS, was among the network of IPCC scientists who were recognized for their work when, in 2007, the IPCC and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

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