This Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Workshop, organized by Working Group I (WGI), addressed a topic of key importance for the WGI contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Sea level rise is one of the longest-term consequences of continued increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases and threatens the livelihood of millions of people. While the physical processes that influence sea level changes are well known and established, the uncertainties in the projections of some of the components contributing to sea level rise are still unacceptably high. The largest uncertainty is associated with the response of the large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and their sensitivity to atmospheric and oceanic warming and changes in precipitation. For these reasons, the IPCC Plenary approved the proposal of WGI to hold an IPCC Workshop very early in the AR5 cycle so that the scientific progress since the last IPCC assessment (IPCC AR4, 2007) could be highlighted for a wider audience and areas of emerging results or major remaining questions could be discussed. The experts attending the Workshop covered a wide range of specialties including in situ and remote sensing observations of ice sheet movement and mass balance, reconstructions and direct observations of past and present sea level changes on regional to global scales, changes in ocean properties and circulation, glacier mass balance and dynamics, simulation of ice sheets and short and long-term climate projections. As sea level change is a truly cross-cutting issue, this workshop offered the opportunity to bring together scientists from research communities that normally tend to interact comparatively little.
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