Sea level may actually rise much faster than previously expected, a new scientific study shows.
The study shows that by 2100, sea level could rise between 75 and 190 centimeters (about 2’6″ to 6’3″). The study uses very up-to-date data collected from satellites and builds on previous work by one of the authors. It is now published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings continue the scientific warnings that if we do not do something, climate change will take us on a snowball’s path to widespread and incomparable destruction.
Using measurements of sea level and temperature from the last 130 years, the researchers, Martin Vermeer of Helsinki University of Technology in Finland and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, predict that sea level is likely to rise much more than previously predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) if swift and strong action is not taken to keep the temperature down.
“Since 1990 sea level has been rising at 3.4 millimetres per year, twice as fast as on average over the 20th Century,” says Stefan Rahmstorf. If this rate remains steady, that would result in a rise of 34 centimeters by the end of the 21st century. However, the thing is that as the temperature increases, certain feedback loops make sea level rise faster and faster. As Rahmstorf says, “the data show us clearly: the warmer it gets, the faster sea level rises. If we want to prevent a galloping sea level rise, we should stop global warming as soon as possible.”
The projections from this study show that even with a relatively low temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, sea level will rise over one meter (over 3’3″).
These projections are about three times higher than those from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 because that report did not fully take into account the results of ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica.
Here is yet another study showing us that humans must make quick and strong changes or else changes will happen in nature with far more serious consequences, and even by the end of this century. Will we act in an environmentally balancing manner?
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