Which Ice Sheet Will Flood Miami?

There is a general consensus among Earth scientists that melting of land ice greatly contributes to sea-level rise (SLR) and that future warming will exacerbate the risks posed to human civilization. As land ice is lost to the oceans, both the Earth’s gravitational and rotational potentials are perturbed, resulting in strong spatial patterns in SLR, termed sea-level fingerprints. We lack robust forecasting models for future ice changes, which diminishes our ability to use these fingerprints to accurately predict local sea-level (LSL) changes.

And that’s why the folks at NASA’s Virtual Earth System Laboratory’s Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) team came up with the “Gradient Fingerprint Mapping Simulation” for localized sea level rise from melting glaciers in  293 major port cities. The idea behind the simulation is to give city planners in the coastal regions “improved assessments of future coastal inundation or emergence.”

To the more science-minded among us, here is the research article discussing the the simulation: Should coastal planners have concern over where land ice is melting? (Authors: Eric Larour, Erik R. Ivins and Surendra Adhikari | NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology | Publication: Science Advances 15 Nov 2017: Vol. 3, no. 11, e1700537 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700537)

For the rest of us, according to the Gradient Fingerprint Mapping Simulation, about 47% of Miami’s sea level rise will come from glacier/ice sheet melting at the rate of about 1.333 mm/yr. Almost half of that will come from the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice sheet in the world.

Other models available from the Virtual Earth System Laboratory:

Columbia Glacier
Haig Glacier
Ice Sheets
Greenland Basal Friction
Sea Level
Coastline retreat from Sea-Level Rise
Global Relative Sea-Level Rise
Gradient Fingerprint Mapping
Solid Earth
Greenland Geothermal Sensitivity