Future sea-level rise from warming of polar ice sheets

One of the world's most prominent glaciologists, who is behind a landmark report revealing the unstoppable collapse of a large part of Antarctica, is giving a free public lecture next week at Victoria University of Wellington.

Professor Eric Rignot, a world-renowned scientist at University of California, Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is visiting Wellington to give Victoria’s annual S.T. Lee Lecture in Antarctic Studies.

Professor Rignot has studied the world’s largest glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica since the early 1990s, when NASA and other international space agencies first started collecting satellite data on them.

Professor Rignot is best known for ground breaking research in 2014, which revealed the rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appeared to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.

He is passionate about spreading messages of climate change and impending rising sea-level.

"We are running out of time to combat climate change,” says Professor Rignot. "Every year that passes that we aren't doing anything about it adds to the problem."

In his lecture, Professor Rignot will discuss the current knowledge of ice sheet mass balance and its potential to raise global sea-level by many metres.

“The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are contributing faster, sooner and more significantly than expected to global sea level rise. Observations and physics principles suggest there will be sea level rise of more than one metre by 2100, and geological information from 125,000 years ago and computer models suggest a potential for multi metre sea-level rise in the centuries to come.”

He will also explore emission mitigation options that could limit the amount of sea-level rise.

Professor Rignot was a member of the IPCC team awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.  His scientific achievements have been recognised by many national and international awards, including NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medals and NASA Outstanding Leadership.

For more information or to RSVP see the Antarctic Research Centre.