December 1, 2016

Featuring

Andrea L. Dutton
Assistant Professor
University of Florida

Although thermal expansion of seawater and melting of mountain glaciers has dominated global mean sea level (GMSL) rise over the last century, mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is expected to exceed othe r contributions to GMSL rise under future warming. To better constrain polar ice - sheet response to warmer temperatures, we can draw upon evidence from interglacial periods in the geologic record that experienced warmer polar temperatures and higher GMSLs t han present. We have previously demonstrated that our present climate is warming to a level associated with significant polar ice - sheet loss in the past (at least 6 meters - worth of sea - level rise). Here we provide an update on our best estimate of peak s ea level and the rate of sea - level rise during the Last Interglacial period using an expanded dataset from the Seychelles, including detailed sedimentologic observations that delineate punctuated episodes of reef growth as sea level rose. The outcrops in t he Seychelles do not preserve any evidence for a late, rapid pulse in sea level.