Did the IPCC Underestimate Sea Level Rise ?

New Scientist has a rather interesting report on how the IPCC may be a little too conservative in their estimates of sea level rise due to climate change.

Previous estimates of how much the world’s sea level will rise as a result of global warming may have seriously underestimated the problem, according to new research.

This is because a new study, by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, has been published in the journal Science which uses empirical data and computer models rather than relying solely on computational techniques. It apparently matches measured sea level rises very accurately and the New Scientist report goes on to say:

For a given amount of warming, Rahmstorf says, the rise in sea level “could well be twice as much as was so far expected, based on the last IPCC report”.

What does that mean in reality ?

At the top of the range of possible temperature rises estimated by the last IPCC report, the rise could be as great as 140 centimetres by 2100. That would be bad new for cities like London and New York, which lie close to sea level, and would leave them facing an increased risk of devastating storm surges. Even the lowest predicted temperature rises would cause a 50 cm rise, Rahmstorf says.

Keep your lifebelt handy..

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