Sea Level is Rising Faster than Initially Thought

Sea level is rising 60% faster than the IPCC fourth assessment projected. That is according to researchers from Germany, the US and France. The researchers analyzed global temperature and sea-level data for the past few decades and compared them to projections published in the third and fourth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The results show that global temperature continues to increase in good agreement with the best estimates of the IPCC, especially if  effects of short-term variability due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, volcanic activity and solar variability are also taken into account. The rate of sea-level rise of the past few decades, on the other hand, is greater than projected by the IPCC models. This suggests that IPCC sea-level projections for the future may also be biased low.

2012.12.18 - Sea Level is Rising Faster than Initially Thought

According to Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research the Global sea level is rising significantly faster than expected and this is of some concern, because of the large impacts of sea-level rise and because this suggests that sea-level projections for the future might be biased low.

The team did find, however, that global temperature continues to rise at the rate projected in the last two IPCC reports. The data put to rest a misconception popular in some quarters, that global warming has slowed down or is lagging behind the projections but that is not the case.

Together with colleagues from Tempo Analytics, US, and Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, France, Rahmstorf analysed global temperature and sea-level data from the past two decades and found an overall warming trend of 0.16 °C per decade.

The researchers found that sea levels are rising at 3.2 mm per year, according to satellite altimeters. This is near the upper limit of the projected uncertainty range in both the third and fourth IPCC assessment reports; the best estimate in the fourth assessment report was 2 mm per year.

The team believes it is very unlikely that the increased rate is due to internal climate variability, or to factors such as groundwater extraction for irrigation, which over the last 20 years has roughly been cancelled out by water storage in artificial reservoirs.

The full article of the study can be found HERE.

Sources: Maritime Connector, IOPScience

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