Monday, June 22, 2009

At current atmospheric pollution rates sea levels expected to rise 25 metres

SHOOT: They're expecting this to occur over 2000 years. I'd be surprised if these scientists weren't very surprised that it would occur far sooner than that - perhaps over 25-50 years.
Caribbean islands will be severely affected by even a couple metres of sea level rise (red). Yellow shading shows areas that lie within 25 metres of present sea levels (Image: Google – Map data © 2009 PPWK, Tele Atlas.  Overlay:

Even if we could freeze-frame the atmosphere as it is today, sea levels would still rise by 25 metres, says the latest study into the effects of climate change on melting ice sheets.

Eelco Rohling of the UK National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton and colleagues reconstructed sea level fluctuations over the last 520,000 years and compared this to global climate and carbon dioxide levels data for the same period. They found a tight coupling between carbon dioxide and sea level rise.

Based on this relationship, the team calculated that if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were fixed at current levels, temperature rises over the next couple of millennia would eventually drive sea levels up by 25 metres.

Two studies published last year suggested that there is a limit to how fast the water can rise. According to one, sea-levels could rise by approximately 1.3 metres by 2100. The other set the upper limit at 2 metres.
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