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Sea Level Could Rise from 0.75 to 1.9 Meters This Century

ScienceDaily (Dec. 8, 2009) — A new scientific study warns that sea level could rise much faster than previously expected. By the year 2100, global sea level could rise between 75 and 190 centimetres, according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors, Martin Vermeer of Helsinki University of Technology in Finland and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, based their analysis on measurements of sea level and temperature taken over the past 130 years. In those data they identified a strong link between the rate of sea level rise and global temperature.

"Since 1990 sea level has been rising at 3.4 millimetres per year, twice as fast as on average over the 20th Century," says Stefan Rahmstorf. Even if that rate just remained steady, this would already lead to 34 centimetres rise in the 21st century. "But the data show us clearly: the warmer it gets, the faster sea level rises. If we want to prevent a galloping sea level rise, we should stop global warming as soon as possible," adds Rahmstorf.

The link between the rate of sea level rise and global temperature was originally proposed by Rahmstorf in an article in the journal Science in 2007. The new study refines this idea. It adds a second term to the equation in order to capture the short-term response of sea level, leading to greater physical realism as well as a much greater precision. Vermeer and Rahmstorf also added the latest data sets, including satellite measurements up to 2008 and a correction for water storage in man-made reservoirs, which overall lowers global sea level by 3 centimetres.

Their results show that even for a relatively low greenhouse gas emissions scenario with just 2 degrees Celsius warming over the 21st century, sea level is likely to rise by more than one meter. Their highest scenario, with over 4 degrees Celsius warming over the 21st century, would lead to over 1.4 meters of sea level rise by 2100. When the full set of emissions scenarios and estimated uncertainties are considered, waters may rise by anything between 75 centimetres and 1.9 metres by the year 2100 -- consistent with another recent estimate of an upper limit of 2 metres, based on consideration of ice sheet dynamics.

"More noteworthy even than the very high figures for sea level rise is the almost clockwork precision by which, on climatic time scales, temperature drives sea level rise," says Martin Vermeer. The results of the study also demonstrate the quality of the existing sea level and temperature time series used, "painstakingly constructed from measurements at stations around the globe for well over a century," Vermeer notes.

The projected rise is about three times as much as estimated in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, which did not fully include the effects of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica. To avoid such a large sea level rise, which would be an existential threat to many large coastal cities as well as a number of small island nations, drastic and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will be required.

The study finds that delays in emissions reductions will come at a high cost, since early emissions cuts are much more effective in limiting sea level rise than later cuts. The emissions reductions needed to keep sea level rise below 1 meter will likely be considerably more ambitious than those needed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, a policy goal now supported by many nations.
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Adapted from materials provided by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), via AlphaGalileo.

Journal Reference:

1. Vermeer, M., Rahmstorf, S. Global sea level linked to global temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907765106


Added: Dec-8-2009 Occurred On: Dec-8-2009
By: maestrosity
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Tags: climategate, AGW, global, warming, sea, level
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  • How convenient it is to justify bad law and overreaching government intrusion into our personal lives by making a preposterous claim that can never be verified by most anyone alive today. But libtards are a gullible and cowardly lot. They scare easy.

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • First it will, then it won't.... a couple inches, a few feet.... then if we go about all of the changes we are talking about right now, we'll be just fine....

    Make up your damn minds. Or perhaps it's because they are still learning the science?


    There's a fine line between failing miserably here (they were right) and.... failing miserably (they wrecked society becuase they made decisions based on incomplete data/young science).

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  • B.S.!!!!!

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  • RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • here's to hoping

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • FAKE

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • Only thing modern scientist can truly predict with any certainty....we'll have another ice age and a cataclysmic
    asteroid are in our future. And a few supervolcanos in the mix. Doesn't matter how you cut it,we're living on borrowed time for sure.

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • Why dont scientists take into account the biggest factor on our climate, THE SUN! idiots!

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • The vast majority of us are on borrowed time. Unless the entire planet is obliterated and pieces of it sent flying, I bet there will be a enough humans left, that over a few thousand years, they will work on regaining a foot hold. That might be the true environmentalists nightmare above all nightmares - mother nature tries to kill us off, but we survice. "Oh dammit!!".

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  • The sea has been retreating where I live, it has gone down at least 1,300 ft since the dinosaurs ruled the earth. And I can explain New Orleans, it's very easy: the army corps of engineers built canals and routed the Mississippi delta to avoid flooding and claim land previously underwater, the river used to carry lots an lots o sediment to those spots also. Since the canals were built the land started sinking because it started to dry out, so the corps had to build levees to compensate for the More..

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  • ooo... maybe the continents are actually sinking! AHA I got it!

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  • I've definitely noticed a rise in the water levels in my bay.Ive been boating for years and there are bouey poles with signs on them about a 100 ft out from shore and at the highest tide for 20 somewhat years, you can always see the sign on the bouey pole,no problem.Now, its been about 4-5 years now that at high tide half the sign is under water, so were talking almost a foot.So i believe it.

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • When I see beach front property drop in value I'll believe them. So what are we supposed to do, fork over a couple thou every year and hope they spend the money fighting this great danger????

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  • And then again, it may not.
    Shut the hell up, scammer!

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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  • As the level rises it only becomes quite clear to the deniers that yes something is going on.

    This thread is a good example, a few wingnuts squirm because the only explaination for the sea levels to rise is global warming. LOL!!
    They just can't explain the obvious facts away, just can't do it so they drivel ignorance.

    Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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    • The sea hasnt risen where i live, has it risen where you live? You probably dont even live next to the sea lol.

      Posted Dec-8-2009 By 

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    • Yes it has risen where you are, that is a fact you cannot deny.

      And thanks for proving my point, you just cannot explain away the facts, not even phony outrage over a few e-mails can't explain away the FACT sea levels are going up!!

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    • Even if they are going up the fact is that sea levels have risen and fallen for as long as theres been seas, what was the excuse for them rising millions of years ago when man wasnt about? The argument is about whether we are being lied to about the scientific data. In the ancient past man has had to up sticks and move away from where he settled because of NATURAL sea levels rising, long efore the industrial age. Its just that man makes mistakes on where he settles. Do you think we will be able More..

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    • If only plate tectonics happened faster.... environmentalists would claim that's our fault too.

      Has there ever been any science done to look into the connections of geology, plate tectonics, and climate? I personally don't know, I'm honestly asking.

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    • It rises every time the tide comes in, well doesn't it? Oh! but but being taxed lots of money will stop it rising LMAO!! sorry not that gullible, not today thank you, not buying. 75% of the world surface is water, melt both polar caps and it will rise by 1 inch if you lucky, but warm the ocean up via the sun and that volume of water will expand, that is a differant story, one where it is the sun affecting the climate, so tell me how the hell is all this money collected from the first world and g More..

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