Lauren Gregoire, University of Leeds
Constraining projections of ice sheet instabilities and future sea level rise.
Lauren Gregoire is an ice sheet and climate modeller working on understanding abrupt changes in climate, ice sheets and sea level. While doing a PhD at the University of Bristol, Lauren discovered the mechanism of an ice sheet Saddle Collapse instability, which contributed towards two major events of rapid sea level rise associated with abrupt climate changes. During this time and subsequently, Lauren has also pioneered the use of Bayesian statistical methods for quantifying uncertainties in past climate and ice sheet modelling. Lauren joined the University of Leeds in 2013, where she is now a lecturer. Lauren co-leads the international PMIP (Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project) working group on the last deglaciation (the transition out of the last ice age 21,000-7,000 years ago). Lauren is a member of the Steering Committee of PalaeoARC and topical editor for the open-access journal Geoscientific Model Development. With the Future Leaders Fellowship Lauren will determine the probability of future extreme sea level rise by developing and applying new statistical techniques. ‘Instabilities in ice sheets can cause runaway ice loss and they pose the largest threat of future rapid sea level rise. If triggered, these instabilities have the potential to cause more than 1 m of sea level rise by 2100, which would submerge land currently home to 100 million people. Predicting the future possibility of such 'worst case' sea level change is critical for adequately planning. Yet, this is extremely challenging, because the only observations of ice sheet instabilities are from the geological past. In order to reliably translate our knowledge from the past into confident future projections, we need new statistical methods that can account for climate uncertainties’. Lauren will lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers to develop and apply new statistical tools to accurately quantify uncertainties in past, present and future climate and ice sheet evolution, thus unlocking the key potential of geological records to constrain future ice sheet instability. This will produce the first robust projection of future ice sheet instability and the resulting ‘worst case’ sea level change informed by the geological past. It will unite and grow the three leading strands of Lauren’s research: mechanisms of ice sheet instability, climate change, and uncertainty quantification, establishing Lauren as a world leader in using geological data to constrain ice sheet evolution.