Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute &
Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography

Spring 2015 Seminar Series


Isabella Velicogna
University of California Irvine and Jet Propulsion Laboratory - NASA

Monday, February 2, 2015
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Resarch Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508


Closing the sea level budget is a most important scientific and societal issue of climate change. Here, we report on the status of ice sheets and glaciers mass balance throughout the world and their contribution to sea level rise using time series of time-variable gravity from the NASA/DLR GRACE satellite mission for the time period 2003-2014. We also evaluate static regional sea level variations (or sea level fingerprints, SLF) from these observations of ice sheet and glacier loss, combined with observations of changes in global land hydrology also from GRACE, and water input from the atmosphere from re-analysis data. We evaluate the relative contribution of each component to regional sea level. We compare the cumulative SLF signal at global scale and at the scale of large ocean basins with satellite altimetry data corrected for the steric component from Argo floats. We find an excellent agreement between the two datasets. Although the regional SLF do not include sea level variations from ocean dynamics that re-distributes water mass around the world's oceans at the analyzed scales, we find that the SLF represent a large fraction of the trend and annual amplitude of the sea level signal. This work was conducted at the University of California Irvine and at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Isabella Velicogna earned an undergraduate degree in Physics and a Ph.D. in Applied Geophysics from the University of Trieste in Italy. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Earth System Science at the University of California Irvine and a senior scientist in Division 32 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Her research interests include the use of space-based climate measurements for cryospheric and high latitude regional studies; the study of processes of global change using various remote sensing techniques, as well as lithospheric properties and loading processes on geological timescales; the use of satellite measurements of static and time variable gravity to examine groundwater hydrology, polar ice mass balance, viscoelastic rebound and earth rheology; the observation and monitoring of changes in ice sheets mass balance and high latitude regions in a warming climate and determining the impact on global and regional sea level, using a combination of satellite remote sensing techniques, ground observations and numerical modeling; and the development of methods for joint estimation of, or inversion for, different components of the water cycle, including its atmospheric and cryospheric components.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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Innovation Research Park Building I
4111 Monarch Way, 3rd Floor
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