Sea level rise
- The prognosis just seems to get worse each time new research results
The latest from the Copenhagen Climate Congress foresees greater than
expected sea level rises and the possibility - depending on what I
have read - of 10 to 17 percent of the wolrd's population affected.
1. Climate Change Congress – University of Copenhagen:
Half a Meter The Minimum That Will Occur, One Meter or More Possible
Research presented today shows that by 2100 sea level rise could be
one meter or more at the upper end of the spectrum (assuming we don't
reduce carbon emissions quickly to hold temperature rise to 2°C). At
the lower end of the spectrum it looks unlikely that sea level rise
will be less than half a meter.
Uncertainty Over Ice Sheet Melt Kept IPPC Report Projections Low
In the 2007 IPCC report sea level rise was projected to be in the
range of 18-59cm. However, not all factors were included in these
projections (most notably uncertainty surround how ice sheets would
react to rising temperatures and interact with oceans) and are
consequently too low.
Eric Rignot, Professor of Earth System Science at the University of
California Irvine and Senior Research Scientist at NASA's Jet
The numbers from the last IPCC are a lower bound because it was
recognized at the time that there was a lot of uncertainty about ice
sheets. The numerical models used at the time did not have a complete
representation of outlet glaciers and their interactions with the
ocean. The results gathered in the last 2-3 years show that these are
fundamental aspects that cannot be overlooked. As a result of the
acceleration of outlet glaciers over large regions, the ice sheets in
Greenland and Antarctica are already contributing more and faster to
sea level rise than anticipated. If this trend continues, we are
likely to witness sea level rise one meter or more by year 2100.
Several Meters Sea Level Rise Possible in Coming Centuries
John Church from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate
Unless we undertake urgent and significant mitigations, the climate
could cross a threshold during the 21st century committing the world
to a sea level rise of meters.
Those multiple meters Church is referring to would be in the years
past 2100, by the way. If mitigation efforts are not sufficient sea
level rise would continue in the 22nd and 23rd centuries. According to
one chart shown, possibly as much a 5 meters in the next two centuries.
No matter the exact amount of sea level rise, the message presented is
loud and clear: Even at the lowest levels of project sea level rise in
the 21st century mean that 10% of the world's current population will
be hit by rising seas.
2. Treehugger reporting on Climate change as a risk problem, not
One of the better descriptions of the problem of how we're not
adequately addressing climate change came early in the first day of
the Copenhagen Climate Congress came from Professor Katherine
Richardson, Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee and Vice Dean
at the University of Copenhagen.
After say that "climate change is not a prediction problem—scientists
understand that—it's a risk problem." Richardson went on to talk about
the level of certainty that climate change is man-made stated in the
2007 IPCC report:
Perhaps We Should Say There's a 10% Chance Humans Aren't Causing
Saying that the 2007 report concludes that it is 90% certain that
human action, primarily in the form of burning fossil fuels and
chopping down forests, is causing climate change, Richardson elaborated:
90%. Turn that on its head. That means there's a 10% or less chance
that its not us that is doing this to the climate. A 10% chance. If
you were going to the airport, to take an airplane, and someone said
there was a 10% or less chance that that plane was going to get where
you wanted to go [...] would you take the plane? Very Unlikely.
You might find a technician who had his or her head deep into the
engine of that machine and could turn to you and say, 'Come on! I know
this baby. She's going to make it.'
Would you believe that technician, or would you believe the people
behind this that say there's a less than 10% chance or getting to
where you want to go?
That's where we are with climate change at the moment. and for some
reason scientists haven't been able to communicate that message,
through media, to the politicians.
We Manage Terrorism Risk, Why Not Climate Change Risk?
Normally in our society, when there's a risk [...] let's face it,
there are a lot of airports in this world. what are the chances of Al
Qaeda hitting any individual airport. Probably very small indeed, but
we spend an awful lot of money, a lot of effort in our society trying
to minimize that risk. What we need to do is to understand that we
need to minimize the risk of what we're doing to the climate on our
3. BBC: "Sea rise 'to exceed projections'"
4. Globe and Mail/Associated Press: "Sea-level predictions more
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