Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sea level does not rise uniformly across the globe

Pia Chandavarkar in Deutsche Welle: Sea levels could rise by up to 59 centimeters (23 inches) by the year 2100, according to a 2007 study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But over the past two years many scientists have said the report underestimated the threat posed by rising water levels.

Mark Siddall from Britain's University of Bristol along with other colleagues from Switzerland and the United States last week released a study showing that sea levels could go up between seven and 82 centimeters by the end of the century.

The team simulated sea-level fluctuations in response to climate change over various interglacial periods spanning 22,000 years. While the study's estimates are less that the two-meter increase other researches have predicted, Siddall said even a slight increase in levels could seriously affect low-lying areas.

"Even a 10 centimeter rise in an area such as Bangladesh could be catastrophic," he said. "And we're looking at many 10s of centimeters of change. This means that floods which might have only affected areas once every 10 years or so might affect them much more regularly."…

The Campbell Ice Shelf, Antarctica, image from NOAA

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