Thursday, January 10, 2008

Eelco Rohling: Current predictions of sea-level rises may be too low.

The world's sea levels could rise twice as high this century as U.N. climate scientists have predicted, according to researchers who looked at what happened more than 100,000 years ago, the last time Earth got this hot.


Back then, Greenland was 5.4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than now -- which is similar to the warming period expected in the next 50 to 100 years, Rohling said.

Current models of ice sheet activity do not predict rates of change this large, but they do not include many of the dynamic processes already being observed by glaciologists, the statement said.

How could the UN be so wrong?
Lead author, Professor Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science, based at the National Oceanography Centre, said: ‘There is currently much debate about how fast future sea level rise might be. Several researchers have made strong theoretical cases that the rates of rise projected from models in the recent IPCC Fourth Assessment are too low. This is because the IPCC estimates mainly concern thermal expansion and surface ice melting, while not quantifying the impact of dynamic ice-sheet processes. Until now, there have been no data that sufficiently constrain the full rate of past sea level rises above the present level.

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