Sea levels could rise by a maximum of 190
centimetres by the end of the century, according to a new study,
which examines a worst case scenario for sea level rise.
In reality, the amount of sea level rise we get
is likely to be less than that. But scientists and policymakers
examine such 'worst case' scenarios to safeguard against climate
per cent of the world's population living less than 10 metres
above sea level, the threat of
coastal flooding is significant. The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) expects sea level rise to cause a '
significant increase' in sea levels extremes and the risk of
The new study, published in
Environmental Research Letters, considers
the assessment of 13 ice sheet experts. They conclude that the
contribution from ice sheets is likely to be greater than projected
by the IPCC. The paper suggests that sea
levels could rise by as much as 190 cm
Projections of sea level rise are typically
constructed by working out the contribution to sea level rise from
factors. The biggest contribution is from
water expanding as it warms, followed by melting glaciers, then
melting ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica.
The crucial question for sea level rise this century
is how much ice will be lost from the ice sheets, the authors
argue. But it remains one of the largest uncertainties. In its
Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), the IPCC
says there isn't sufficient evidence for them to give
probabilities of large-scale losses of ice sheets.
The new study uses expert judgement to consider
areas of ice sheet loss that are often not included in the sea
models that the IPCC bases its assessment
on. They then combine these judgements with the methods used in AR5
to produce their upper-limit figure of 190 cm.