Sea level rise is going to be a LOT higher

  • Published on January 7th, 2013

Manhattan's lower east side swamped by hurricane sandy

You thought Sandy was bad? Just wait for the megastorms that will swamp our coastal cities after a foot – or three – of sea level rise.

The 2007 IPCC estimate was just under two feet of rise… but we’re getting a better sense of the worsening situation in both Greenland and Antarctica now. And keep in mind: Science is inherently conservative. So these estimates are low, and will probably keep going up.

   Melting glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland may push up global sea levels more than 3 feet by the end of this century, according to a scientific poll of experts that brings a degree of clarity to a murky and controversial slice of climate science.

Such a rise in the seas would displace millions of people from low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, swamp atolls in the Pacific Ocean, cause dikes in Holland to fail, and cost coastal mega-cities from New York to Tokyo billions of dollars for construction of sea walls and other infrastructure to combat the tides.

“The consequences are horrible,” Jonathan Bamber, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol and a co-author of the study published Jan. 6 in the journal Nature Climate Change, told NBC News. …

The estimates are higher than the controversial figures in the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of up to 23 inches (59 centimeters) and higher than the unpublished estimates being prepared for the next IPCC report, said Bamber, who is a review editor for that document and has seen the estimates.

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.