Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Seas may rise even higher

Kiran Chug in the Dominion Post (New Zealand): Scientists are predicting seas will rise higher than the levels the Environment Ministry advises local councils to plan for. Delegates in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate change conference next month are to be told of the new predictions, which draw on new satellite images of Greenland and Antarctica.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted a sea level rise of up to 59 centimetres by the end of the century. However, the director of the Antarctic Research Centre, Tim Naish, said the international community now believed sea levels could rise by 1.9 metres. Environment Minister Nick Smith said the Government was working on establishing a national environmental standard on planning for sea levels, which he hoped would be in place next year.

He hoped to put the standard out for consultation next year, but said it was likely that councils would still be required to plan for a rise of 59cm. "The Government is not going to consider adjusting its policy every week," Dr Smith said.

…Ministry senior analyst Warren Gray said the current advice to councils was to plan for a sea level rise of 50cm, and consider what a rise of 80cm could mean. He said some were planning for sea level rises of up to 1.5 metres. "We want people to be safe, but not building defences that are not necessary," he said.

The mouth of the Uawa River in New Zealand, shot by Monsieur Blanc, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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