Mapping Sea-Level Change in Time, Space, and Probability
About the Event:
As recorded instrumentally and reconstructed from geological proxies, sea levels have risen and fallen throughout Earth’s history, on timescales ranging from minutes to millions of years. Sea-level projections depend on establishing a robust relationship between sea level and climate forcing, but most instrumental records contain less than 60 years of data, which are from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This brief instrumental period captures only a single climate mode of rising temperatures and sea level within a baseline state that is climatically mild by geological standards. Complementing the instrumental records, geological proxies provide valuable archives of the rates of sea-level response to past climate variability, including periods of more extreme global mean surface temperature. I will review the current methodologies and data sources used to reconstruct the history of sea-level change over geological (Holocene) and instrumental (tide-gauge and satellite altimetry) eras, and the tools used to project the future spatial and temporal evolution of sea level. I will summarize the understanding of the future evolution of sea level over the near (through 2050), medium (2100), and long (post-2100) terms. Using case studies from Singapore and New Jersey, I will illustrate the ways in which current methodologies and historical data sources can constrain future projections, and how accurate projections can motivate the development of new sea-level research questions across relevant timescales.
About the Speaker:
Professor Benjamin Horton is Director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore and a professor at the Asian School of the Environment in Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Prior to joining NTU, Professor Horton was Professor at Rutgers University and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Horton obtained his BA from the University of Liverpool, UK, and PhD from the University of Durham, UK.
Professor Horton has won a number of awards in his career. In 2019, he was appointed the President’s Chair in Earth Sciences at NTU for outstanding achievement. For excellence in research, he received the Plinius Medal from the European Geosciences Union, the Voyager Award from the American Geophysical Union, and the W. Storrs Cole Award from the Geological Society of America. He was elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2013 and Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2018. Professor Horton was an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report and is a Review Editor for the new 6th Assessment Report. Professor Horton’s research was cited by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address at the United States Capitol on January 20th 2015.
To view Professor Horton's profile, please click here.