OOPS… Sea level rise from Antarctic collapse may be slower than suggested

Even more settled science.

The media release is below.

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Sea level rise from Antarctic collapse may be slower than suggested
Impact on sea level of Antarctic ice sheet collapse

BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY

A new study by scientists in the UK and France has found that Antarctic ice sheet collapse will have serious consequences for sea level rise over the next two hundred years, though not as much as some have suggested.

This study, published today in the journal Nature, uses an ice-sheet model to predict the consequences of unstable retreat of the ice, which recent studies suggest has begun in West Antarctica. Scientists, led by Catherine Ritz from Université Grenoble Alpes in France and Tamsin Edwards from The Open University, predict that the contribution is most likely to be 10 cm of sea-level rise this century under a mid to high climate scenario, but is extremely unlikely to be higher than 30 cm. When combined with other contributions, that’s a significant challenge for adapting to future sea level rise. But it’s also far lower than some previous estimates, which were as high as one metre from Antarctica alone.

The study’s central estimate raises the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) central prediction of 60 cm global sea-level rise by just a few centimetres under the mid to high scenario they used. But the UK and France team’s method allowed them to assess the likelihood of sea-level rise from substantial parts of the ice sheet collapsing, which the IPCC could not due to a lack of evidence. They predict there is a one in twenty chance that Antarctic collapse could contribute more than 30 cm sea-level rise by the end of the century and more than 72 cm by 2200. This does not rule out larger contributions on longer time scales.

Lecturer in Environmental Sciences at the OU, Dr Edwards says “Our method is more comprehensive than previous estimates, because it has more exploration of uncertainty than previous model predictions and more physics than those based on extrapolation or expert judgement.”

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The paper ‘Potential sea-level rise from Antarctic ice sheet instability constrained by observations’ is authored by Catherine Ritz (Centre national de la recherche scientifique and Université Grenoble Alpes, France), Tamsin L. Edwards (The Open University, University of Bristol), Gaël Durand (Centre national de la recherche scientifique and Université Grenoble Alpes, France), Antony J. Payne (The University of Bristol), Vincent Peyaud (Centre national de la recherche scientifique and Université Grenoble Alpes, France) and Richard C.A. Hindmarsh (British Antarctic Survey). It has been published today (Wednesday 18 November 2015) in the academic journal Nature.

One thought on “OOPS… Sea level rise from Antarctic collapse may be slower than suggested”

  1. It is impossible to predict the climate of the future because of climate model inadequacies and, more importantly, because the climate system is just much too complex, chaotic, little understood and unpredictable to forecast.

    Today, much scientific literature attributes climate change to solar activity, and a number of recent scientific studies published this year have warned about a coming cooling period that is upon us.

    The question is how could the authors of this latest paper (released in time for the Paris Talk-Fest) claim that Antarctic ice sheet collapse WILL HAVE serious consequences for sea level rise over the next two hundred years? Their models seem no better than old fashioned crystal balls used to back up their guesswork and justify the funding that was granted to them.

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