Ice Sheet Day 1 COP26 Cryosphere

Nov. 2 (Tuesday): Ice Sheets and SLR I

10:00  Why “Committed” SLR? A Science-Youth Dialogue

“Committed” sea-level rise occurs when the world’s great ice sheets of Greenland and especially, Antarctica pass certain temperature thresholds, after which ice loss cannot be stopped but may take several centuries to actually occur.  .  These thresholds may be passed as early as 2030 given current emissions; or in the case of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, may already have occurred due to today’s 1.2°C of warming, What ate the inter-generational justice implications of this science?

Organized by the University of Bristol and NSIDC.  Speakers: Twila Moon, Jonathan Bamber, two Youth (Divya from India and Amy from the U.S.)

11:30  Greenland’s Tipping Point

Greenland’s ice is 3 km thick, and runs entirely to its bedrock base which is currently below sea level.  What is the tipping point of Greenland, where the altitude of the ice sheet is so lowered by surface melt that near-complete loss is unavoidable?  An explanation of this important and complex ice sheet.

Organized by NSIDC and GEUS.  Speakers: Jason Box and Twila Moon

13:00  Antarctica and Paris Goals: Risks of Massive Sea-level Rise

Recent published research shows the danger of massive, potentially irreversible, global sea-level rise within the next couple of centuries should temperatures overshoot 2°C. Perhaps most sobering, this loss may become rapid and permanent, with no halt in ice loss even should CO2 concentrations return t pre-industrial levels; and rates approaching 5 cm/year by 2150, and 10 meters of sea-level rise by 2300 should today’s emissions levels continue.  IPCC scientists provide a clear-eyed look at risks from Antarctica, and implications for the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

Organized by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  Speaker: Rob DeConto

14:30  Important Role of Ice Shelves

Ice shelves play a key role in stabilizing ice sheets; especially on Antarctica.  We have seen rapid ice loss occur on both Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula when glaciers lose their supportive or “buttressing” ice shelves; and once lost, it appears difficult for them to grow back.  Why is this the case, and why is this so important for Paris temperature goals?

Organized by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and NSIDC.  Speakers: Shaina Sadai and Twila Moon

16:00  Why is West Antarctica So Important to Near-term Sea-Level Rise?

The geography of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet holds the key as to why this part of the continent may be subject to rapid collapse, leading to sea-level rise of several meters per century at higher temperatures.

Organized by the University of Bristol.  Speaker: Jonathan Bamber and Rob DeConto

18:00  Antarctica and the Limits of Adaptation

Antarctica holds nearly 70 meters of sea-level rise, and may be subject to thresholds where its ice sheet loses mass for many thousands of years.  A discussion between cryosphere scientists and people from low-lying nations on the limits of adaptation and need for preventive mitigation.

Organized by the University of Bristol, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Climate Central.  Speakers: Jonathan Bamber, Rob DeConto and Benjamin Strauss (Possible opening by Chilean Minister of Science Andrés Couve)

19:30  Cryosphere Cèlidh: Global South and Cryosphere: Facing the Crisis

Cryosphere changes caused by global warming actually have their greatest impacts, in terms of scale and population in the Global South.  “Facing the Crisis” comprises a multi-media exhibit of photography, artwork, videos and other media produced by people of the Global South themselves, showing impacts of cryoshere dynamics such as sea.level rise from ice sheet and glacier melt; as well as work on mitigation and adaptation.

Organized by Scotland’s International Development Alliance.