The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Worst Case Sea Level Rise by Century’s End Could Be Doubled, New Study Finds
In its fifth assessment report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted between 52 and 98 centimeters (approximately 1.7 to 3.2 feet) of sea level rise by 2100. But the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday, put the range at 62 to 238 centimeters (approximately two to 7.8 feet).
"We should not rule out a sea-level rise of over two meters (6.5 feet) if we continue along a business-as-usual emissions trajectory," study lead author of the University of Bristol Jonathan Bamber said, according to USA Today.
The upper estimate is what would happen if temperatures rose 5 degrees Celsius by the century's end and has about a 5 percent chance of occurring. But Bamber said it was still worth taking seriously.
"If I said to you that there was a one in 20 chance that if you crossed the road you would be squashed you wouldn't go near it," Bamber told BBC News. "Even a one percent probability means that a one in a hundred year flood is something that could happen in your lifetime. I think that a five percent probability, crikey — I think that's a serious risk."
Such a rise in sea levels would have devastating consequences. It would swallow 1.79 million square kilometers (approximately 700,000 square miles) of land, an area roughly the size of Libya, or three times the size of California, according to USA Today. The inundation would threaten important agricultural areas like the Nile delta, parts of Bangladesh and major cities like New York, London and Shanghai, BBC News said. It would also swamp Pacific island nations and displace as many as 187 million people, Bamber told New Scientist. Bamber put it in perspective for BBC News by saying that the Syrian refugee crisis had seen only one million displaced into Europe.
"A sea-level rise of this magnitude would clearly have profound consequences for humanity," Bamber said, as USA Today reported.
Recent studies based on satellite data have shown that glaciers in both the Arctic and Antarctic are melting at accelerating rates. A theory has also emerged that ice cliffs in Antarctica might collapse as the ice sheets that support them melt.
Bamber told New Scientist there was still time to avert catastrophe.
"We can make some choices but we have to make them very soon," he said.
- Indonesia Will Move its Capital from Fast-Sinking Jakarta - EcoWatch ›
- Antarctica's Ice Is Melting 5 Times Faster Than in the 90s - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky
One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.
The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.
But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.