"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", he says.
"Unless we undertake urgent and significant mitigation actions, the climate could cross a threshold during the 21st century committing the world to a sea level rise of metres", said John Church
"Measurements around the world show that sea level has risen almost 20 centimeters since 1880," explains Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who will give the plenary speech on sea level rise at the congress. These data also reveal that the rate of sea level rise is closely linked to temperature: sea level rises faster the warmer it gets. "If sea level keeps rising at a constant pace, we will end up in the middle of that 18-59 cm IPCC range by 2100," says Rahmstorf. "But based on past experience I expect that sea level rise will accelerate as the planet gets hotter."
The impacts of sea level rise - even in the lower ranges of the current predictions - looks to be severe. Approximately ten percent of the worlds population - 600 million people - live in low lying areas in danger of being flooded (1). A previously released study led by John Church, shows that even a modest sea le
|Contact: Morten Jastrup|
University of Copenhagen