• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .


Holocene vertical land motion and relative

sea-level changes: lessons from the British


Journal of Quaternary Science (2011)
Shennan I, Milne G and Bradley S
DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1532
Vol 27; Issue 1: pp. 64-70

Vertical land motion caused by continuing glacial isostatic adjustment is one of several important components of sea-level change and is not limited just to previously glaciated regions. A national-scale analysis for the British Isles shows an ellipse of present-day relative uplift (relative sea-level fall), ∼1.2 mm a−1, broadly centred on the deglaciated mountains of Scotland. The pattern of three foci of relative subsidence, ∼1 mm a−1, results from the additional interactions of the deglacial meltwater load on the Atlantic basin and the continental shelf, and the signal due to far-field ice sheets. At a local scale, sediment compaction can more than double the rate of relative land subsidence. Relative land-level change (the negative of relative sea-level change) is not the same as vertical land motion. There is a spatial pattern in the difference between relative land-level change and vertical land motion, with differences at present of approximately −0.1 to −0.3 mm a−1 around the British Isles and +2.5 to −1.5 mm a−1 globally. For the wider scientific and user community, whether or not the differences are considered significant will depend upon the location, time frame and spatial scale of the study that uses such information.

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