Rohling - Australian Laureate Fellowship “Sea level change and climate sensitivity”

This project addresses the pressing need to understand the growing disequilibrium between today’s fast climate changes and slow ice-volume adjustments, which is significant because this is a key determinant for potential acceleration of sea-level rise. This is a major concern to society, because climate change and sea-level rise have profound infrastructure, economical, migration, defense and peacekeeping implications to Australia and globally.

The project will help to reduce uncertainty in multi-decadal and longer projections of climate change by using recent theoretical frameworks that allow insights from data from past ice-age cycles to feed into projections relevant to longer-term planning. Three major outstanding questions are addressed:

  • Q1. What is the nature of the pre-anthropogenic (natural) relationship between global ice volume/sea level, temperature and CO2 concentrations?;
  • Q2. How rapidly might the ‘system’ adapt to a change in forcing?;
  • Q3. What is the relationship between multi-century climate sensitivity and climate background state?