Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

James Hansen: Dangerous Sea Level Rise Will Occur in Decades, Not Centuries

Climate
James Hansen: Dangerous Sea Level Rise Will Occur in Decades, Not Centuries

Dr. James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who is widely credited with being one of the first to raise concerns about human-caused global warming, is a co-author of a new report predicting that the world will undergo devastating sea level rise within mere decades—not centuries, as previously thought.

Taking into consideration "rapid, large, human-made climate forcing," the study predicts a much more accelerated rate of sea level rise of several meters, beyond that which humanity is capable of adapting to. Photo credit: Christopher Michel/cc/flickr

The report, published Tuesday in the open-access journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, paints an even bleaker picture of the planet's future, positing that continued high fossil fuel emissions will "increase powerful storms" and drive sea-level rise of "several meters over a timescale of 50 to 150 years."

Hansen, who now serves as the director of the Climate Science Awareness and Solutions program at Columbia University Earth Institute, published the findings along with an international team of 18 researchers and academics.

As the abstract states, the predictions "differ fundamentally from existing climate change assessments." For example, the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 predicted three feet of sea level rise by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated.

A draft version of Hansen's paper released last year provoked wide debate among climate scientists.

Nonetheless, Michael Mann, a renowned climate scientist with the University of Pennsylvania, who is among those questioning some of the report's "extraordinary" claims, told the New York Times, "I think we ignore James Hansen at our peril."

The peer-edited report examines growing ice melt from Antarctica and Greenland and studies how that melting has historically amplified "feedbacks that increase subsurface ocean warming and ice shelf melting." Taking into consideration "rapid, large, human-made climate forcing," the study predicts a much more accelerated rate of sea level rise of several meters, beyond that which humanity is capable of adapting to.

Or, as Hansen put it, "We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control."

These staggering claims come as climate scientists continue to reel from the frightening speed at which the Earth is warming. On Monday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO, issued a report warning that climate change is occurring at an "alarming rate" and that world leaders must act to curb greenhouse gases now, "before we pass the point of no return."

In a video released alongside the new report, Hansen, who left his position at NASA in 2013 so that he could fully commit himself to fighting climate change, says that the paper explores the consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions. These include "superstorms stronger than any seen in modern times," sea level rise that will erase "all coastal cities," and, finally, "how soon we will pass points of no return."

Watch here:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Photo Ark: One Man’s Journey to Save the World’s Most Endangered Species

Eating Less Meat Could Save 5 Million Lives, Cut Carbon Emissions by 33%

Dramatic Images Show Worst Coral Bleaching Event to Ever Hit Most Pristine Part of Great Barrier Reef

White House: 17 Western States Face New Threats to Water Supplies From Climate Change

Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A hazy Seattle skyline due to wildfire smoke is seen on September 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Lindsey Wasson / Getty Images

Washington state residents are taking climate matters into their own hands. Beginning this month, 90 members of the public join the country's first climate assembly to develop pollution solutions, Crosscut reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Boletus mushrooms such as these are on the menu at ONA restaurant in Arès, France. Jarry / Tripelon / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images)

For the first time ever, a vegan restaurant in France has been awarded a coveted Michelin star.

Read More Show Less
Samples of chocolate, strawberry and taro ice cream in the Chinese city of Tianjin tested positive for coronavirus. Alex Lau / Conde Nast via Getty Images

Ice cream samples in the Chinese municipality of Tianjin have tested positive for traces of the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Workers install solar panels on a house near downtown Oakland, California. Grid Alternatives

By Galen Barbose, Eric O'Shaughnessy and Ryan Wiser

Until recently, rooftop solar panels were a clean energy technology that only wealthy Americans could afford. But prices have dropped, thanks mostly to falling costs for hardware, as well as price declines for installation and other "soft" costs.

Read More Show Less