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Geophysics Seminar - Jacky Austermann "Sea Level and Ice Sheet Stability During Past (and Future) Warming", Columbia

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Jacky Austermann is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University and part of the Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics Division of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. In her research, she studies sea level changes ranging from the past glacial cycles to Millions of years ago in order to infer ice mass changes and ice sheet stability as well as constrain the Earth's rheology. She also works on geodynamic and plate tectonic problems dealing with plate driving forces and dynamics of the Earth's deep interior.


Past warm periods are testing grounds for major ice sheets’ response to global warming. Stratigraphic evidence from the Bahamas from the most recent warm period, the Last Interglacial at ~125 ka, constrains glacial isostatic adjustment and shows sea level very likely did not exceed ~5m, below current IPCC estimates. This finding, taken with global observations, helps constrain the melt history of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. To constrain sea level during the earlier mid-Pliocene (~3 Ma) and early Pliocene (~5 Ma) warm periods we must also understand mantle convection. The combined results start to paint a coherent picture of ice sheet sensitivity, ice sheet processes and future sea level rise. 

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