New Study: Seas Will Rise Up to 1.5 Meters by 2100

New research presented at a European Geosciences Union conference projects that oceans will rise as much as 5 feet by the end of this century. This forecast is three times hgher than the scenarios used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report. If it pans out, it will wreak havoc with low-lying countries such as Bangladesh and provoke mass migrations.

From Reuters:

Melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warming water could lift sea levels by as much as 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) by the end of this century, displacing tens of millions of people, new research showed on Tuesday.

Presented at a European Geosciences Union conference, the research forecasts a rise in sea levels three times higher than that predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year. The U.N. climate panel shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Svetlana Jevrejeva of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Britain said the estimate was based on a new model allowing accurate reconstruction of sea levels over the past 2,000 years.

“For the past 2,000 years, the sea level was very stable,” she told journalists on the margins of the Vienna meeting.

But the pace at which sea levels are rising is accelerating, and they will be 0.8-1.5 metres higher by next century, researchers including Jevrejeva said in a statement.

Sea levels rose 2 cm in the 18th century, 6 cm in the 19th century and 19 cm last century, she said, adding: “It seems that rapid rise in the 20th century is from melting ice sheets”.

Scientists fiercely debate how much sea levels will rise, with the IPCC predicting increases of between 18 cm and 59 cm.

“The IPCC numbers are underestimates,” said Simon Holgate, also of the Proudman Laboratory.

The researchers said the IPCC had not accounted for ice dynamics — the more rapid movement of ice sheets due to melt water which could markedly speed up their disappearance and boost sea levels.

But this effect is set to generate around one-third of the future rise in sea levels, according to Steve Nerem from the University of Colorado in the United States.

“There is a lot of evidence out there that we will see around one metre in 2100,” said Nerem, adding the rise would not be uniform around the globe, and that more research was needed to determine the effects on single regions.

Scientists might debate the levels, but they agree on who will be hardest hit — developing nations in Africa and Asia who lack the infrastructural means to build up flood defences. They include countries like Bangladesh, almost of all of whose land surface is a within a metre of the current sea level.

“If (the sea level) rises by one metre, 72 million Chinese people will be displaced, and 10 percent of the Vietnamese population,” said Jevrejeva.

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  1. Anonymous

    Um, end of the century is 2100, not 2010. And I’ll be dead by then! Party on Wayne! I’m spending my rebate check on beer.

  2. Yves Smith

    Eeek, have made the correction.

    Not that this excuses the goof (I should have previewed the post), but in compose mode, the end of long headlines isn’t visible in the little window they give you. And I’m not the greatest typist.

  3. Gerard

    One way or another it just goes to show that we never outgrow our need for bullshit, doesn’t it?

  4. Anonymous

    Headline is now correct, but RECENT ITEMS at the top is still wrong. Losing credibility by the minute … tick tock.

  5. Yves Smith

    Recent Items is a Blogger bit out of my control. It takes a long time to update. When I load new posts in, it won’t show them for a while. When I have had past headline typos, sometimes it has corrected quickly, sometimes not, but it eventually does resolve.

  6. Rob Dawg

    Snigger. April 1st was two weeks ago.

    Sea level cannot rise by 1.5m in 92 years due to catastrophic warming regardless of causation. This is the worst of junk science.

  7. Anonymous


    Your bio does not show any evidence of having published in peer-reviewed journals in climate science, or indeed of having any serious training in any of the relevant sciences (engineering is not science). Find some critiques of the methodology and then we might listen. Skeptical pot shots from a non-expert don’t count for much.

  8. Anonymous

    An earlier post here concludes with the statement by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: “The world intelligentsia has been asleep at the wheel. While we rage over global warming, global hunger has swept in under the radar screen.” It has to be a bit embarrassing for the greens that their first major victory in the US is now held partly responsible for possibile consequences from mass starvation to the takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood. So really the global warming believers need to be held to somewhat higher standards. So let us take this prediction of a .8 – 1.5 meter rise in sea levels by 2100 to imply an approximately 4.3 centimeter rise by 2013. If that doesn’t occur can we then say that the model which is the basis for this prediction has been falsified?

  9. Yves Smith

    I am not an expert here, but I have read reports on research that says (and this appears not to be an uncommon view) that many of the climate changes we may see are likely to be non-linear. Look, for instance, how the Arctic ice melt last summer was well in excess of what anyone anticipated.

  10. Anonymous

    It may be that the consequences of climate change (in this case sea level rise) are likely to emerge in a non-linear fashion. But the model must represent some process of change that takes us from the condition today to the condition predicted for 2100. It hardly seems unreasonable to suggest that the model makes some predictions for 5 years out that would be observable. Either the model represents real known processes or not. It can hardly be the case that wse will have to wait until Jan 1 2100 to know whether or not the prediction was accurate.

  11. Anonymous

    Goedel’s incompleteness theorems essentially say that, as mentioned by prof. Hawkings himself, math is either inconsistent or incomplete. The professor bets his money (as he did in a previous debate with Kip Thorne decades ago) on the incomplete part of mathematics. Goedel’s theorems are proved using self-referring statements such as

    “This sentence is false”

    Stephen Hawking, Theory of Everything, and Goedel’s Incompleteness theorem

  12. Richard Kline

    Ocean levels are highly likely to shift in a non-linear fashion. I might add that while overall climatic models are improving, they are insufficiently detailed to model _with precision_. The models show that ocean levels will rise, and that conclusion is fairly robust. How much and by when vary severely depending upon quite small changes in variable inputs, and that in models where it is well known that not all known inputs are accounted for as variables. Do we see levels of confidence, or variance ranges for the published 1.5 m and ~90 y? No; but not to get in a twist about it, since the models aren’t likely precise enough to make confidence ranges more than informed speculation.

    Personally, I expect rises of _more_ than 1.5 m, and considerably sooner than ~90 years, because given a non-linear readjustment we may get a big shift fast, on a 10-20 year time frame. That’s another way to say that if 90 years from now the ocean levels are 2+ m higher, that change could be, say, a rapid event starting 20 years from now rather than a gradual rise over 90. Levels are going to rise, and populations _are_ going to be displaced. These projections should be ‘priced in’ as facts in the pipeline (taking or leaving the pun as is your preference).

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