120 leading world experts to discuss issues related to sea level rise in Kuala Lumpur 21-24 June, 2010

THURSDAY, 17 JUNE 2010 08:28
By Abdul Ghani Nasir

BANGI, 16  June 2010 – Some 120 leading world experts on all issues related to sea level rise, including the field of ice sheet dynamics and ice sheet instabilities, will meet in Kuala Lumpur from June 21-24 for the IPCC Workshop on Sea Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities.

The experts will discuss the latest results from observations related to sea level rise from oceanographic, cryospheric and paleo records, including information on thermal expansion of the ocean, melting of glaciers and small ice caps, changes in the mass balance of Greenland and Antarctica, changes in ocean circulation, and changes in water storage on land.

Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Prof Fredolin Tangang, who is also the the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Vice-Chair of Working Group I,  says  among the major long-term consequences of climate change is global sea level rise. A reliable projection is required in order to quantify coastal impacts and to assess the sustainability of coastal settlements around the world.

In particular, small islands are already now affected by rising sea level and therefore a reliable estimate of future rates of increase of sea level is crucial. Sea level rise is caused by a number of processes with contributions from: (i) thermal expansion of the ocean, (ii) melting of glaciers and small ice caps, (iii) melting of Greenland and Antarctica, (iv) changes in ocean circulation, and (v) changes in water storage on land.

Prof Tangang, who is also of Head of the Research Centre for Tropical Climate Change System (IKLIM) of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia adds that both the size and the uncertainty of each of these contributions need to be quantified in order to make a useful projection of global sea level rise and its regional expression.

As such, the workshop will address the current understanding, and limitations, of ice sheet and ice stream dynamics, including information on their sensitivity to changes in the forcings and on potential irreversibility associated with ice stream or whole ice sheet instabilities and critically evaluate modelling tools used to project sea level rise, the resulting projections, and assess and constrain the associated uncertainties.

The workshop is being organised by the IPCC Working Group I (WG I) which is tasked to assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change.

The main topics assessed by Workng Group  I include:  changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere; observed changes in air, land and ocean temperatures, rainfall, glaciers and ice sheets, oceans and sea level; historical and paleoclimatic perspective on climate change; biogeochemistry, carbon cycle, gases and aerosols; satellite data and other data; climate models; climate projections, causes and attribution of climate change, regional climate phenomena.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Dato Seri Douglas Unggah Embas will open the workshop, and The Vice Chancellor, Prof Tan Sri Sharifah Hapsah will deliver the opening remarks. The IPCC Chair, Dr Rajendra Pachauri is also expected to be present and deliver his opening remarks.

In conjunction with this workshop also, two public lectures are being organised by the Research Centre for Tropical Climate Change System (IKLIM), UKM, on June 24, 2010 from 3-5pm  at the Senate Room, Chancellory Building, UKM. Two renowned scientists would deliver their lectures: 1) Prof. Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC WG1 — “Towards IPCC AR5: Science Gaps, Structure of the Report and Schedule”, 2) Dr John Chruch, A Leading Oceanographer of CSIRO Australia —- “Understanding Sea Level Rise and Its Implications for the Future”. Members of the media are invited to these talks.