Ice experts awarded £458,000 to study climate change
Press release issued: 21 February 2003
Scientists are set to gain a new insight into the effects of global warming on the climate of Northern Europe, thanks to a government grant worth £458,000.
The researchers, led by Dr Jonathan Bamber from the University of Bristol, will use sophisticated numerical models to simulate the behaviour of the Greenland ice sheet, glaciers and sea ice and how these will interact with the rest of the climate system during the next few centuries.
Last year saw record levels of melt on the Greenland ice sheet and the smallest amount of sea ice ever recorded in the Arctic. Paradoxically, this increasing melting of ice could lead to substantial cooling in the North Atlantic and parts of north-western Europe, particularly the UK.
The melting ice could interact with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, weakening its strength or possibly shutting it down altogether. The presence of the Gulf Stream currently keeps the UK much milder than it should be given its latitude. Without this warmer water, temperatures here would be several degrees cooler.
The scientists will simulate several different Greenhouse Gas warming scenarios to investigate how the climate of Northern Europe will change and, in particular, what will happen to the Gulf Stream.
Dr Bamber said: "We're delighted to receive this grant to fund important research into climate change - a subject with far-reaching implications for the future of our planet."
The grant was awarded to scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Reading, Southampton Oceanography Centre and the UK Met Office Hadley Centre by the UK government's Natural Environment Research Council .
The project will run for three years beginning in the summer of 2003, and it is hoped that initial results will be available after about two years.