The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in 2007 that sea levels would rise at least 28cm (1ft) by the year 2100.
But this is a global average; and now a Dutch team has made what appears to be the first attempt to model all the factors leading to regional variations.
Other researchers say the IPCC’s figure is likely to be a huge under-estimate. Whatever the global figure turns out to be, there will be regional differences.
Ocean currents and differences in the temperature and salinity of seawater are among the factors that mean sea level currently varies by up a metre across the oceans – this does not include short-term changes due to tides or winds.
So if currents change with global warming, which is expected – and if regions such as the Arctic Ocean become less saline as ice sheets discharge their contents into the sea – the regional patterns of peaks and troughs will also change.
“Everybody will still have the impact, and in many places they will get the average rise,” said Roderik van der Wal from the University of Utrecht, one of the team presenting their regional projections at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna.
“But places like New York are going to have a larger contribution than the average – 20% more in this case – and Reykjavik will be better off.”
Apparently The Netherlands is not the only place to face problems with sea level rise in the near future.
Photo By joiseyshowaa