The level of sea might rise to about 27-in through 2100 while the temperature of water rises, glaciers in the Himalayas and Andes melt, and the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland shed water, according to European scientists.
This latest estimate is more than the forecast done previously that was 59-cm by United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the year 2007 that did not account wholly for effects of the melting ice, as told by researchers with Ice2sea venture of twenty-four institutions in Chile and Europe.
The study aims at giving more clarity on the predictions of UN for climate change’s effects in order to guide the policy makers. From over 190 nations, envoys are working so that a new treaty of climate-change could be drafted by 2015 which will come to effect by 2020 and will bind all the countries. Average levels of sea have already risen by about 17cm in the last century, as told by a UN panel.
A British Antarctic Survey’s professor and Ice2sea’s coordinator, David Vaughan said that the earth’s changing climate happens to be the major driver of glacier and ice-sheet change and that the climate changes that are seen by us today and in the coming ten years would have impact for a long-term in future in the terms of rise of sea-level.
Key findings by Ice2sea have been submitted to IPCC. The initial out of the four planned reports will be published later in this year by the UN panel.
Report by Ice2sea is being published a day before a meeting in Sweden, involving Arctic Council of six countries that is considering transport rules and resource-use as the ice’s disappearance widens the access to world’s ocean at the extreme north. The sea-ice cover of Arctic shrank to the lowest level recorded last year and opening up areas of ocean for mineral exploration and shipping. Sea ice does not add to the increase of sea level while melting as already it displaces water.
Forecast by Ice2sea includes the new estimated range as extending from 3.6 to 36.8 cm and being the most probable range to contribute towards higher sea levels due to melting of continental ice, as told by Vaughan. He said that at upper limit, scientists of Ice2sea are 95% certain that these effects would not increase 84 cm.
Latest forecast for full increase in the levels of sea, with 33cm gain to 69cm for highest band of probability, includes water’s thermal-expansion effect of occupying increased space as the temperatures warm.
Because of the gravitational field of earth that varies around planet, increasing levels of sea affect mostly tropics that are very near equator and those closest to ice polar areas are affected the least, as told by Ice2sea.
Increased sea levels also have to be taken into consideration along with the changes in the ocean circulation while looking at the probable impacts on patterns of storms, said Ice2sea. The researchers of the group predict that extreme surges of storm might be about 1 meter higher compared to the present on a few coasts of Europe in the following 50 years.
Enough ice is held by Antarctica to increase the levels of sea by up to 57m, though complete melting is not likely for 1000 years or more, according to UN. Enough ice is contained by Greenland to increase levels of sea by 7 meters.
In 2007, IPCC said that Antarctica and Greenland together contributed 0.42mm per year to increase of sea-level from the year 1993 through that of 2003. This is only about half the 0.77mm contribution from small ice caps and mountain glaciers, and one-fourth of the 1.6mm increase because of the water expanding due to warmer temperatures.