IF we don’t get off our current emissions path
Sea levels may rise three times faster than the official predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the global average sea level may increase by as much as 1.9 metres (6ft 3in) by 2100, scientists said yesterday.
The new assessment comes just one week after another international scientific body concluded that the IPCC had been too conservative in estimating a maximum of 59 centimetres of sea level rise this century as a result of global warming.
That’s the UK’s Independent reporting on a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Global sea level linked to global temperature” (open access), by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Martin Vermeer of Helsinki University of Technology in Finland.
The figure above is from the study, with the caption, “Projection of sea-level rise from 1990 to 2100, based on IPCC temperature projections for three different emission scenarios (labeled on right…). The sea-level range projected in the IPCC AR4 [Fourth Assessment Report, 2007] for these scenarios is shown for comparison in the bars on the bottom right. Also shown is the observations-based annual global sea-level data (red).”
We are currently on the A1F1 emissions trajectory (see “U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm“), though I am hopeful that the agreement coming out of Copenhagen coupled with the bipartisan U.S. climate bill will take us off that trajectory.
But the bottom line is that if we listen to the anti-scientific ideologues urging inaction, the midrange sea level rise projection is now about 5 feet by century’s end. And that is consistent with many other recent studies –see, for instance, Startling new sea level rise research: “Most likely” 0.8 to 2.0 meters by 2100.