Sea Level Rise Could Come Much Earlier than Estimates: Report

Two climate scientists have mentioned in their study that an accurate estimate of sea-level rise is double than previous estimations. The journal Nature-published research paper has unveiled that previous ice-sheet climate models have under-appreciated the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Researchers- Robert DeConto at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and David Pollard at Pennsylvania State University- have used a three-dimensional ice sheet model to reconstruct earth to the time it looked three million years ago during the Pliocene era and then 125,000 years ago during the Eemian era.

During these periods, atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions were comparable to today’s’ periods. But the sea levels were between 20 and 30 feet higher than they are today. DeConto said that in the past when global average temperatures were little warmer then today, sea levels were quite high.

“Melting of the smaller Greenland Ice Sheet can only explain a fraction of this sea-level rise, most which must have been caused by retreat on Antarctica”, affirmed the climate scientists. As per them, Antarctic ice will melt faster than previous estimations.

Antarctica has the ability to contribute greater than 1 meter of sea-level rise by the year 2100 if atmospheric emissions continue to rise. Pollard mentioned that their findings do not necessarily have to take place. Their main aim is to point out about danger.

DeConto and Pollard have also said that prediction of sea rise by five to six feet by NOAA could turn out as a real possibility and should not be ignored. DeConto and Pollard are not the first climate scientists to suggest sea level rise predictions by the IPCC and NOAA are underestimates.

Eric Rignot, an Earth sciences professor at the University of California, Irvine, said that people should consider that they are heading to the tragic way.

A report published in the NYTimes said, “The situation would grow far worse beyond 2100, the researchers found, with the rise of the sea exceeding a pace of a foot per decade by the middle of the 22nd century. Scientists had documented such rates of increase in the geologic past, when far larger ice sheets were collapsing, but most of them had long assumed it would be impossible to reach rates so extreme with the smaller ice sheets of today.”

“We are not saying this is definitely going to happen,” said David Pollard, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University and a co-author of the new paper. “But I think we are pointing out that there’s a danger, and it should receive a lot more attention.”

“You could think of all sorts of ways that we might duck this one,” said Richard B. Alley, a leading expert on glacial ice at Pennsylvania State University. “I’m hopeful that will happen. But given what we know, I don’t think we can tell people that we’re confident of that.”

“Using a three-dimensional ice sheet model, DeConto and Pollard reconstructed the Earth as it looked 3 million years ago during the Pliocene era and then 125,000 years ago during the Eemian era. During the Pliocene and Eemian, atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions were comparable to today’s levels, but sea levels were between 20 to 30 feet higher than they are today,” according to a news report published by CSMonitor.

“So at a time in the past when global average temperatures were only slightly warmer than today, sea levels were much higher,” DeConto says in a press release. “Melting of the smaller Greenland Ice Sheet can only explain a fraction of this sea-level rise, most which must have been caused by retreat on Antarctica.”

“We are not saying this is definitely going to happen,” Pollard told The New York Times. “But I think we are pointing out that there’s a danger, and it should receive a lot more attention.”

In a report published by the Time News, “Ice melting from Antarctica could drive more than 3.5 feet (1.1 meters) in global sea level rise by 2100 without action to curb greenhouse emissions, according to new research.” “As we learn more about the ways that ice sheet are capable of losing ice, our revisions are going higher and higher,” says NASA climate scientist Joshua Willis, who was not affiliated with the study. “There are a lot of processes that we’re really just beginning to recognize and understand.”

But achieving such a goal may be easier said than done. The agreement came only after many failed starts and levels of warming already seem to be approaching that the Paris Agreement’s 2°C threshold. February saw the most unusually warm temperatures ever recorded-1.2°C (2.2°F) higher than the average global temperature in February during the 20th century. And, even if temperatures are kept below the threshold, scientists may not anticipate the unexpected processes that occur with even 1.5°C of temperature rise.

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