Predictions for sea level rise through the end of the century vary greatly–from 30cm to over a meter. By weighing the ocean at one point, the researchers hope to eliminate some of the uncertainty of these predictions and the complexity of measuring sea level rise through other methods.
National Oceanography Centre’s Professor Christopher Hughes explains the research:
“We have shown that making accurate measurements of the changing pressure at a single point in the Pacific Ocean will indicate the mass of the world ocean. And we know where to place such a pressure gauge – the central tropical Pacific where the deep ocean is at its quietest. This instrument needs to be located away from land and oceanic variability. The principle is rather like watching your bath fill: you don’t look near the taps, where all you can see is splashing and swirling, you look at the other end where the rise is slow and steady.”
However, an instrument sensitive enough to measure differences of only fractions of a millimeter of water per year over the long-term does not yet exist. The research team is hoping that engineers will help solve this problem.
Hughes explains that the person who is capable of creating this instrument “will have solved the biggest measurement problem in sea level science, and produced an instrument of enormous value in other branches of oceanography.”
You can read the full story here: Weighing the ocean.
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