Sea Levels Likely To Witness 2-Metre Rise By 2100, Says Study

22 Mai, 2019, 03:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote

To try and get a more realistic picture of future sea level rise (SLR, ) Jonathan Bamber from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and his colleagues used a technique called structured expert judgement (SEJ.) This involved asking 22 ice sheet experts to estimate plausible ranges for future SLR as a result of melting ice in Greenland and the Antarctic under both low and high global temperature rise scenarios.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) said its 2013 Fifth Assessment Report suggested that in a "business-as-usual" scenario, sea levels would likely to rise by up to one metre by 2100. "So it is one we should consider if we want to plan and adapt to future sea level rises", Jonathan Bamber, a professor at the University of Bristol and the lead researcher of the study, told Al Jazeera. "Two meters is not a good scenario". Major cities, including NY and London, would also be threatened.

He said the displacement of people in low-lying coastal areas would likely result in serious social upheaval. It would also pose an "existential threat" to small island nations in the Pacific which would be left pretty much uninhabitable.

There's a 5 percent chance the worst-case scenario described in the report will happen, but it shouldn't be discounted, according to its authors.

The team of global scientists used a technique called structured expert judgment to ask 22 ice sheet experts to estimate plausible ranges for future sea level rises.

"A sea-level rise of this magnitude would clearly have profound consequences for humanity", they said.

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Prof Bamber added: "Such a rise in global sea level could result in land loss of 1.79 million km2, including critical regions of food production, and potential displacement of up to 187 million people".

"What we decide to do collectively as a species politically, globally, over the next decade is going to determine the future of the next generations in terms of the habitability of the planet and what sort of environment they live in". At the 2 degree Celsius level, Greenland would be the major concern in contributing to the rise in sea levels. But many experts saw those findings as conservative.

The vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain enough frozen water to lift the world's oceans dozens of metres.

Such projections remain challenging due to ongoing uncertainty regarding the evolution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, particularly in response to climate change.

The researchers estimate that, if emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide continue to grow unchecked, causing global temperatures to increase by about 5°C over pre-industrial levels, sea levels in 2100 would be 1.6 to 5.8ft higher than they are today.

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