Regional Variations In Sea Level Change in Alaska

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 3:30 PM AKST
Speaking: 
Jeff Freymueller, Geophysical Institute and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Jeff Freymueller, Geophysical Institute and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Projections of global average sea level predict significant sea level rise over the next century, due mainly to thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. But the effects of changing sea level in any one place are not determined by the global average, but by the local change in relative sea level -- the level of the sea relative to the level of the land. Transporting water to the ocean from melting glaciers and ice sheets changes Earth's gravity field and causes uplift of the surface due to removal of the ice load. Both of these effects cause regional variations in relative sea level, which can be larger in magnitude than the global average rise. In addition, vertical tectonic motions along large regions of the Alaska coast are more rapid than sea level change. As a result, different parts of the Alaska coast experience both relative sea level rise and fall. In this talk, Dr Freymueller will discuss regional variations in sea level change in Alaska.

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