Scripps scientists are among 22,000 researchers converging on San Francisco for the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, which starts today. Students and scientists will present on a range of topics including these:
El Niño’s Immediate Effects on Antarctica’s Ice Shelves
C14A-05 • Monday, Dec. 12, 5 p.m. • Moscone West 3007
Ice shelves experience rapid changes when the global climate phenomenon known as El Niño occurs. Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and Earth and Space Research in Corvallis, Ore. found that El Niño thickens the ice shelves by increasing snowfall on top of them, and thins the ice shelves by increasing melt below them as warm ocean water comes into contact with their bases.
The researchers, led by Scripps postdoctoral researcher Fernando Paolo, analyzed surface-height records made between 1994 and 2012 at the Amundsen Sea ice shelves in West Antarctica. They found that El Niño episodes lead to a net loss in ice-shelf mass because the ice lost at the base is denser than the snow gained at the surface.
The study suggests that if El Niños become more frequent in a future climate, the variability of ice shelves will increase. This has a range of implications for the dynamics of grounded ice in Antarctica, which is a source of large uncertainty in global sea-level rise projections. The study also highlights the importance of the contribution of changing snowfall on ice-shelf mass balance at timescales shorter than a decade, which has been underappreciated until now.
PRESENTATION TITLE: “RAPID RESPONSE OF WEST ANTARCTIC ICE SHELVES TO EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA”
Seasickness and Other Forms of Experiential Learning
ED21E-04 • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 8:30 a.m. • Moscone South 309
Physical oceanography can seem like the most intangible of subjects when presented in a classroom, but graduate students at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego found ways to make it visceral during two research cruises for high school students in July 2016.
Scripps’ Julia Fiedler will describe GOTO-SEE (Graduate students Onboard Teaching Oceanography – Scripps Educational Experience), the foundation of a three-week course for high school students that she and fellow students Bonnie Ludka, Sean Crosby, and Veronica Tamsitt designed and led. The GOTO-SEE team surveyed high school participants afterward, finding that while many of them reported feeling seasick during the excursions off the San Diego coast, nearly all gained a new appreciation for the physics causing that seasickness as well as other ocean properties.
“Physical oceanography is a difficult thing to convey oftentimes because so much of it is hidden. Collecting data on a boat, experiencing the rocking of the waves, feeling the temperature of deep water, seeing the effect of pressure on a Styrofoam cup – these things all deepen the learning that's done in a traditional classroom environment,” Fiedler said.
One of the participating high school students, Kaitlin Rhee, will present a poster on her observations of internal wave energy during the GOTO-SEE cruises. (ED41A-0789 • Thursday, Dec. 15, 8 a.m – 12:20 p.m.)
PRESENTATION TITLES: “EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT RESPONSE TO LEARNING OCEANOGRAPHY AT SEA”
“OBSERVATIONS OF HIGH-FREQUENCY INTERNAL WAVE ENERGY OFFSHORE OF POINT LOMA, CALIFORNIA”
Measuring Anthropogenic Global Warming in Real Time
A43K-04 • Thursday, Dec. 15, 3:10 p.m. • Moscone West 3008
A pair of researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and University of Tokyo have developed a means to track the increase in global mean surface temperature caused by human activities.
The method allows climate modelers to filter out the natural internal variability of climate systems to make society’s impact clearer. Scripps climate scientist Shang-Ping Xie and Yu Kosaka, formerly of Scripps, have used it to estimate that mean surface temperature in this decade is 1.2° C higher than it was in 1900, a greater rate of increase than had previously been thought by climate researchers.
The researchers suggest this methodology allows climate policymakers to more easily access reliable estimates of human-caused climate change as countries look for ways to limit global warming to 2° C above pre-industrial temperatures.
Xie and Kosaka had previously explained the apparent “hiatus” in global warming that had been the subject of controversy in recent years. They did so by identifying the influence of variables such as the cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean. It was that research, published in 2013, that led to the creation of this methodology.
PRESENTATION TITLE: “HIATUS ON THE UPWARD STAIRCASE OF GLOBAL WARMING”
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today on every continent and in every ocean. The institution has a staff of more than 1,400 and annual expenditures of approximately $195 million from federal, state, and private sources. Scripps operates oceanographic research vessels recognized worldwide for their outstanding capabilities. Equipped with innovative instruments for ocean exploration, these ships constitute mobile laboratories and observatories that serve students and researchers from institutions throughout the world. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 430,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu and follow us at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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