Just after I have attended a conference on seasonal and decadal prediction at NCAR in Boulder/Colorado, my next stop was at the PALSEA and QUIGS meeting in Galloway/New Jersey. It was the third time that I attended a PALSEA and as the other two times it was a great opportunity for me. The main topic of the conference was the sea-level and climate change during the last and other interglacials.
Many talks surrounded the available data and their interpretation. In this context it is a very complex task to bring together on the one side the many different proxies and evidences of sea-level height during that period and on the other side to explain their causes by the changes of ice-sheets in the higher latitudes and the reaction on them by the Earth. As a consequence there were many interesting discussions surrounding this field and many different viewpoints were heard. Specific questions around when the last interglacial exactly started, how high the sea-level was during that period and how the exact evolution of sea-level happened during that time were often discussed during this week. Most discussions were evidence driven, trying to make sense of the sometimes contradicting results and their uncertainties.
Also the understanding of the consequences of these results played an important role, as sea-level change is not happening isolated. It requires the build up or melting of ice shoot and with it a change in climate. In a climate system, as we know from looking around us today, that is highly connected all the climate sub-components, especially atmosphere, cryosphere and ocean have to tell the same story.
Myself have presented a poster on the last interglacial sea-level evolution and had several interesting discussions on this topic. Also the field trip, which showed us the study fields of salt marches, which are used to investigate Holocene sea-level change at the East American coast was very informative. Seeing the data collection first hand always helps to understand the topic better and getting better results at the computer in your own office. All in all it was a great opportunity for me, which was made possible by the financial contribution by the organisers, which allowed me to attend.
At the end of September the 10th edition of the German Climate Meeting (DKT) took place in Hamburg, which also commemorate its 25th year of existence. The four-day conference covered beside the physical and statistical topics around climate science also a huge bunch of social and transdisciplicanry topics.
The venue of the DKT 2015
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At the end of last week the NOC in Liverpool invited the UK communities around sea level science to a meeting to honour Phil Woodworth’s retirement. After the 80th-birthday of the PSMSL two years ago, this was the second time in quick succession to get the people together and discuss the current developments in the field. Sea level itself is a highly diverse topic, which was well represented at that meeting.
It started with some talks on the impact of sea level change and storm surges. A focus therein was the translation of the science to the actions on the ground. After the first poster session the past sea-level, especially during the Holocene got their attention. In this part the connection between geodesy, geology and oceanography gives the field a very interesting interdisciplinary touch. All communities have to work together and understand each other to gain further ground in the research on this topic. A big point is therein the uncertainty of models and observations, which was widely presented and discussed in the talks and the posters.
My poster at the meeting
The presentations ended with an overview over the observational techniques, mainly coastal measurements with the satellites. In these fields large steps forward were made in the past years, which brings hope to the development of better opportunities to compare satellite measurements with the readings of tide gauges. Some remarks from the host and a nice conference dinner with many discussions lead to the end the first day.
The second day kicked of with the main source of sea level change, the ice. The focus was especially set on the ice sheets on Antarctica and their monitoring with satellite altimetry. Ocean dynamics and their influence on sea level followed next. The speakers showed that the influence of this part has still many potentials for future research. The final topic was the projections of future sea level change. This controversial topic with its two main approaches, the classical modeling and the semi-empirical methods, lead to many discussions.
All in all it was a great meeting, which brought a good overview on the many different facets of the field. The great discussions around the meeting helped to broaden the understanding for everyone within this interdisciplinary community. Certainly the field will still allow for huge advances in the future, which will require the introduction of new techniques, great ideas and especially the work across the traditional boarders of the research fields.