Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change
Study of past sea level changes shows coastal communities may face rises of at least six metres even if we limit global warming to 2C, reports Climate Central.
Sea level rises of eight inches have already worsened flooding effects from storms such as Hurricane Sandy. Photograph: John G Wilbanks/Alamy
Even if world manages to limit global warming to 2C — the target number for current climate negotiations — sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 ft) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process.
That finding comes from a new paper published on Thursday in Science that shows how high sea levels rose the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high.
That was about 3m years ago, when the globe was about 3-5F warmer on average, the Arctic 14.4F warmer, megasharks swam the oceans, and sea levels stood at least 20 ft above their current heights.
The megasharks aren’t coming back but those sea levels could be, no matter what happens in December’s climate summit in Paris.
Now vs. 25 feet of sea level rise in Ocean Drive Miami
“Even if we meet that 2C target, in the past with those types of temperatures, we may be committing ourselves to this level of sea level rise in the long term,”Andrea Dutton, a geochemist at the University of Florida and one of the study’s co-authors, said. “The decisions we make now about where we want to be in 2100 commit us on a pathway where we can’t go back. Once these ice sheets start to melt, the changes become irreversible.”
The study examined past changes and laid out a framework for using them to refine our understanding of what the future holds for coastal communities. According to separate research by Climate Central, a 20-ft sea level rise wouldreshape the US coast, causing Louisiana to lose its boot and transforming the Bay Area into the Bays Areas by forming a second inland bay. It would also threaten the world’s coastal nations and megacities.