How COVID-19 could help people understand sea level rise

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2 translated emission pathways (TEP) and representative concentration pathways (RCP) (Meinshausen et al., 2011; Moss et al., 2010) over a period of 100 years. The historical data used to construct the PETs were obtained from the Global Carbon Project (Friedlingstein et al., 2020) up to 2020. In order to satisfy the 80 years of future projections, each PET translated CO2 variations in emissions of different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic over several years. Credit : Earth’s future (2022). DOI: 10.1029/2021EF002453″ width=”800″ height=”494″/>

Global CO2 emissions from translated emission pathways (TEP) and representative concentration pathways (RCP) (Meinshausen et al., 2011; Moss et al., 2010) over a period of 100 years. The historical data used to construct the PETs were obtained from the Global Carbon Project (Friedlingstein et al., 2020) up to 2020. In order to satisfy the 80 years of future projections, each PET translated the CO2 variations in emissions of different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic over several years. Credit: Earth’s future (2022). DOI: 10.1029/2021EF002453

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique opportunity for climate change experts to make the connection between sea level rise and the general public.

In his recent article “Translated Emission Pathways (TEPs): Long-Term Simulations of COVID-19 CO2 Emissions and Thermosteric Sea Level Rise Projections”, published in Earth’s futureTing Lin of Texas Tech University did just that.

Working with undergraduate McNair Fellow Alan R. Gonzalez, Lin, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, used the CO2 emissions data at different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to create new sea level rise projections.

Using a nonlinear model developed with former doctoral student Matthew A. Thomas in his Multi-Risk Sustainability Research Group (HazSus), Lin was able to link these projections to the pandemic and times when production industry, travel and emissions were at very different levels.

The hope for Lin and his team was to better understand what reducing emissions might look like for people in their daily lives while showing what impact it would have on melting ice caps and rising sea levels.

“Specifically, we used four stages,” Lin said. “The first is the emergence of COVID-19. The second is when guidelines and certain restrictions have been set. Phase three is the reopening transition and phase four is the initial vaccinations.”

The aim of the study and the document is to bring the general public into the discussion on climate change while encouraging people to be respectful of the environment.

“Our ability to show the corresponding data for emissions during these time periods and to parallel that with what has already been done in the climate science community, which describes different types of emissions scenarios, has allowed us to use something the general public has experienced,” Lin said. “I hope this could help them understand how these restrictions have impacted their daily lives.”

As Lin worked to make the conversation about climate change more accessible to the public, she also gathered models and data to help the scientific community develop new methods to study sea level rise.

In a second paper, co-authored with PhD candidate HazSus Xiao Luo, “A Semi-Empirical Framework for Ice Sheet Response Analysis under Oceanic Forcing in Antarctica and Greenland”, published in Climatic dynamicsLin explains the development of a new framework for creating ice sheet response models.

After running a set of computationally expensive models, Lin and his team created simplified mathematical expressions to link the original models with the ability to input new data and create new outputs.

The hybrid approach between models and data gives scientists studying ice sheet response the ability to examine potential sea level rise using significantly less computing power but with no loss of precision.

“We created this so that in the future we don’t have to re-simulate the whole process,” Lin said. “We ran the initial process-based simulations using our high-performance computing center (HPCC) at Texas Tech and it takes a long time to run these simulations.

“Once done, we don’t need to run all the different simulations for Antarctica and Greenland – we can generalize this and use the simplified, semi-empirical framework to generate future melting. And in turn, we can model the resulting sea level rise.”


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More information:
Alan R. Gonzalez et al, Translated Emission Pathways (TEPs): Long-Term Simulations of COVID‐19 CO 2 Emissions and Thermosteric Sea Level Rise Projections, Earth’s future (2022). DOI: 10.1029/2021EF002453

Xiao Luo et al, A semi-empirical framework for the analysis of ice sheet response under oceanic forcing in Antarctica and Greenland, Climatic dynamics (2022). DOI: 10.1007/s00382-022-06317-x

Provided by Texas Tech University

Quote: How COVID-19 could help people understand sea level rise (2022, August 30) Retrieved August 31, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-covid-people-sea .html

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