Climate Change sea level rise

Published on November 25th, 2013 | by Don Lieber


Sea Level Likely To Rise One Meter By 2100, Threatening Coastal Cities (Largest Ocean Science Survey Ever)

If greenhouse gas emissions remain at current levels, global sea-level rise will by 70 to 120 centimeters by 2100, according to the results of a new survey of 90 of the world’s most active ocean and climate scientists.

The survey was conducted by researchers from the United States and Germany, and published in the recent Quaternary Science Reviews. It is the largest survey of scientists on sea-level rise ever, with over 90 scientists from 18 countries participating.

The survey focused on two scenarios: one, in which current greenhouse gas emissions remain at current levels. This scenario, according to Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, “would threaten the survival of some coastal cities and low-lying islands.” The other scenario in the survey studied significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; in this scenario, sea-level rise would be slightly lower, at 40–60 centimeters by 2100.

The report acknowledged the uncertainties in predicting sea-level rise due to the diverse and complex influences which affect the rise. The authors acknowledge that most high-profile, recent predictions of sea-level rise have turned up too conservative. Observed sea-level rise as measured by satellites over the past two decades, say the authors, has exceeded earlier expectations. Similarly, current predictions of sea-rise by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have now been revised upwards by about 60% from predictions that were published as recent as 2007. The pattern is clear: actual sea-level rise has been more severe than many scientists have predicted.

Aware both of governmental largesse in greenhouse gas mitigation efforts (manifested by the anemic results of the Warsaw climate conference this week) and the fossil-fuel industry’s insatiable hunger for digging up ever-increasing sources of fossil fuels sources — despite the clear warnings about continued emissions (manifested by Shell’s new plan for Arctic drilling) — the scientists involved in this survey indeed predict the higher-end scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, and resulting catastrophic sea-level rise.

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About the Author

Don Lieber has written extensively on international human rights, war and disarmament, and climate justice. His writings have have been published by the United Nations, The Associated Press, The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, DeSmog Blog, E-The Environmental Magazine, and others. He is a frequent contributor to PlanetSave. When not writing about climate change, he plays bass for the NYC-based band "Wifey".

  • Ericus Alanas


  • ReduceGHGs

    We need more people to get involved, to insist that their reps in Congress act aggressively to reduce global emissions. Our future generations are at risk.

  • doubting mike

    Scientists do not seem to understand that when water is frozen it takes up more space, and can displace more volume than when it is melted. This being the case, while there is more water released when the poles melt, there is also much less water being displaced. Therefor the belief that the oceans are going to rise is false.

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