Sea Level Rise

Sea level is already rising and the rate of rise is accelerating. We have already put enough additional heat into the system and committed the globe to trap more heat to the extent that sea level rise cannot be stopped for the next few hundred years. If we continue to emit greenhouse gases, the situation will become worse.

The possibility of sudden collapse of portions of the west Antarctic ice sheet complicates the ‘smooth’ projections currently being made out to 2100 and beyond.

The Low scenario given here for 2300 assumes we actively begin to extract green house gases from the air and ocean within the next 100 years. Values are rises above pre-industrial.

Impact type                             2050                             2100                          2300

                                          Low        High                Low        High             Low        High

Sea Level Rise (m)          0.6         0.9                    1.4         2.5                  3          4-15

 [Assessed April 2011]