"Once set in motion, sea-level rise is impossible to stop"

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GLOBAL: Getting to the bottom of sea-level rise
10 Mar 2009 18:19:38 GMT
Source: IRIN
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JOHANNESBURG, 10 March 2009 (IRIN) - In the past few months, newspapers across the globe have been flooded with a debate over new studies projecting a higher and faster sea-level rise by the next century, which would sound the death-knell for low-lying countries and coastal cities. The debate has been fuelled by varying interpretations of the impact of melting ice, and by a new projection of up to 1.4m in sea-level rise by 2100, rather than a 2007 projection by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) of between 18cm and 59cm by that time, depending on a range of greenhouse-gas emission scenarios

ased on IPCC's findings a sea-level rise of 50 cm projected for the next 100 years is expected to occur mostly in the second half of the next century, according to Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory of UK's Natural Environment Council. "Consequently, rises of level for the next 20-30 years (your remaining lifetime) can be expected to be similar to those for the past 30 years (of the order of 10cm)". The impact of the sea-level rise is already unfolding. Island states such as the Papua New Guinea are already feeling the impact: in 2005, 1,000 residents on its Carteret atoll had to be evacuated as the rising sea level was slowly drowning their land. "We will also see an increase in storm surges," said Robert Bindschadler, chief scientist at the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist and oceanographer at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, who made the 1.4m projection and is attending the Copenhagen conference, said it was "very critical" that governments take into account the new findings "because of the long time-scale of sea-level rise". "Once set in motion, sea-level rise is impossible to stop. The only chance we have to limit sea-level rise to manageable levels (say, one metre, which is severe enough) is to reduce emissions very quickly, early in this century. Later it will be too late to do much," Rahmstorf commented.

Source: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/1cef4bf164bb445d9e4a5d2a2b0226b7.htm

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