By 2100, the sea level will rise to a maximum of 2 meters


06/09/2008

Up to what maximum sea levels could rise by 2100? Attracted the most attention figures, announced in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC), and the fact that these figures - the absolute minimum.

Now a team of researchers argues that there is a way to change the fixed upper limit - the rate of sea-level rise, which physically can not be exceeded by the end of the century. This limit, according to experts, is estimated to be 2 meters, ie by 2100, the sea level is unlikely to rise by more than 2 meters.

Set the upper limit of sea level rise is important because the planning of uncertain sea-level rise requires undetermined amount of money. "If we plan to 3 meters, and we get only 60 centimeters, for example, or vice versa, we can spend billions of dollars wasted, not solving the problems that need," - says Tad Pfeffer of the University of Colorado at Boulder (Tad Pfeffer, University of Colorado at Boulder).

In 2007, the IPCC said that sea level rise by 2100, an average of 18-59 cm group emphasized that this estimate included only increase caused by the expansion of sea water in a warmer climate, but not water contributed by the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

This created quite a predictable mess. Some climate scientists have warned that the government should prepare for the fact that their coastlines will go under the water much faster than they expect, because, even with a working system of calculating the minimum sea-level rise, the maximum limit remains unknown to this day.

It may take several more years before glaciologists will be able to calculate the upper limit, using computer simulation. Meanwhile, Pfeffer and his colleagues carried out a rough calculation to estimate the maximum reasonable improvement that can be expected.

In Greenland, where the ice streams descend into the valley, ending below the present sea level, researchers are looking for bottlenecks in the rocky base of the tongue glaciers. They physically prevent the ice to soskolzal in the Atlantic, and the researchers say that they should thus limit the rate of sea level rise caused by Greenland.

The team also collected information on the highest speed at which the ice sheets moved over the rocks in the sea and in Antarctica and Greenland. The researchers were then able to calculate how much ice will have to be released into the oceans in order to raise the level of the sea on the 2nd. and 5m. by the year 2100. They concluded that, given the bottlenecks of Greenland, sea level rise of 5m. in 2100, it is physically impossible.

The team calculated that an increase of 0.8 - 2m. physically possible - and this is a disappointing outlook. Attention, download news ticker and learn everything first.

Original: Environment.Newscientist.com


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