A new study published in the journal Climate Dynamics suggests global warming could cause sea level to rise up to three times higher in the next 100 years than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change.
As part of the study, the researchers determined a relationship between global temperature and sea level dating back 2000 years, according to Aslak Grinsted, a geophysicist with the Centre for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. Using that relationship, they next predicted what might happen with three degrees C of warming. The answer: Sea level would rise from .9 to 1.3 meters by the year 2100. That amount of sea level rise could make adaptation challenging.
One possible area of uncertainty that journalists should probe: How robust are the temperature estimates used in the calculations? Determining temperatures going back 2,000 years is an inherently uncertain exercise, since actual thermometer records don’t extend that far back. The same question might be asked of the sea level records. So how precise might the relationship calculated by the scientists be? I haven’t interviewed them, so I don’t know. But it would be something that any journalist doing this story should ask.
For more information on the story, click here for an article on Eurekalert.org.