Sea levels could rise by up to one-and-a-half metres by the end of this century, according to new scientific research.
The new analysis comes from a UK/Finnish team which has built a computer model linking temperatures to sea levels for the last two millennia.
“For the past 2,000 years, the [global average] sea level was very stable, it only varied by about 20cm,” said Svetlana Jevrejeva from the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL), in the UK.
“But by the end of the century, we predict it will rise by between 0.8m and 1.5m. The rapid rise in the coming years is associated with the rapid melting of ice sheets.”
This is substantially more than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast in last year’s landmark assessment of climate science. The research group is not the first to suggest that the IPCC’s forecast of an average rise in global sea levels of 28-43cm by 2100 is too conservative.
Sea level rise of this magnitude would have major impacts on low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, where eighty to ninety per cent of Bangladesh is within a metre or so of sea level.