Continuing the theme of volatile trends, yesterday’s news was that the Arctic was melting much faster than previously predicted.
Today’s news, not surprisingly, is that sea level rise will “substantially exceed” previous estimates. The latest estimates are that it could rise 150 cm this Century.
It is not surprising really. If the Arctic is melting at a rapid rate because of high temperatures at the poles– so too are the glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica. Whereas Arctic melting does not contribute to sea-level rise, Greenland and Antarctic melting does.
The new research, which was commissioned by the US Climate Change Science Program, concludes that the rises will substantially exceed the forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and will mean catastrophic flooding that would affect millions of people.
It will also add urgency to the growing calls for an official update to the science before the next UN Climate negotiations in Copenhagen. There would be nothing worse than an agreement based on old science that was out-of-date before it is even signed.
Also adding urgency to action on climate is the news that global warming has already pushed the world’s temperature up by more than 1.26F (0.7C), according to the British Met Office. They predict that this year will be the tenth warmest since records began in 1850, with a global mean temperature of 58F (14.3C), despite the fact that the La Nina weather phenomenon helped cool the planet.
They confirm the past decade was the warmest ever recorded. But I’m sure the sceptics will say they were the coolest….