In 500 years, sea levels could be more than 15 meters (50 feet!) higher than current levels. That’s according to a new study published in the March 30, 2016, journal Nature. They base this on greenhouse-gas emission scenarios fed into computer simulations to interpret sea level estimates. They also say that by the year 2100, we could have a 1.5 meter (nearly 5 feet) rise in sea levels. How were they able to reach these dire conclusions? By utilizing mechanisms previously discounted by other studies.
The study’s lead author is Professor Robert DeConto of the University of Massachusetts, and Dr David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University contributed as well. They note that previous estimates of global sea level rise may have “underestimated the problem by half because they failed to incorporate the full effects of factors including the break-up of ice sheets.”
Not only do their results run counter to what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has previously predicted, but they say their new study is a stark warning to coastal communities and low lying areas. Over the past 100 years, the global average sea level rise ranges between 0.8 to 3.3 mm per year, with an average rate of 1.8 mm per year. The IPCC’s last assessment report projected a worst-case scenario of 1 meter (3.2 feet) by 2100, and under a lower emissions scenario a rise of .28-.6 meters by 2100.
This new study “focused on the boundary between the ice and the seas – namely glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.” DeConto and Pollard showed that the “instability of ice sheets and ice cliffs could be an important contributor to past and future ice retreat, leading to creeping sea levels.” The new study is twice as high as previous guesstimates,
They also predict that Antarctica alone could contribute more than one meter of sea-level rise by the year 2100, and greater than 50ft (15 meters) by 2500 if atmospheric emissions continue unabated. The study’s authors focused largely on West Antarctica and Greenland, with the former sitting on an geologically active fault zone. Part of West Antarctica is melting from beneath from warm water heated by tectonic pressure, magma, and friction. This area of the continent is home to some of the world’s largest volcanoes, though many are covered in snow and don’t have the uniformly accepted appearance of a lava-spewing caldera.
NASA has already concluded that despite all this, Antarctica has actually gaining ice due to heavy snowfall that never melts, slowing sea level rise. Sea levels also vary depending on where you are located due to thermal expansion. The paper says that “research has focused on the role of the ocean, melting floating ice shelves from below. It is often overlooked that the major ice shelves in the Ross and Weddell Seas are also vulnerable to atmospheric warming.”
Ice sheets already floating on water that melt do not add to increased sea level rise as the ice shelves are already displacing the water beneath it. The study argues that if these ice sheets melt from atmospheric influences, it would allow land ice to melt further and end up in the oceans. If the current rate of sea level was at the top tier of 3.3 mm per year, that would equate to 84 inches by 2100. Current sea level rise are measured via the Jason-1, Jason-2, and TOPEX/Poseidon satellites, as well as tidal gauges located across the oceans.
“Although the future sea-level contribution in our model is greater than previously thought, it is based on credible mechanisms and is consistent with geologic evidence of past sea-level rise,” said Pollard. “We regard the results as worst-case envelopes of possible future behavior, and the mechanisms should be considered seriously in future work.” In other words, it’s not likely to occur but keep it mind.
In 2003, the late bestselling author Michael Crichton, M.D., gave a speech called “Aliens Cause Global Warming”, where he said:
“To predict anything about the world a hundred years from now is simply absurd.
“Look: If I was selling stock in a company that I told you would be profitable in 2100, would you buy it? Or would you think the idea was so crazy that it must be a scam?
“Let’s think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses?
“But of course, within a few years, nobody rode horses except for sport. And in 2000, France was getting 80% its power from an energy source that was unknown in 1900. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan were getting more than 30% from this source, unknown in 1900. Remember, people in 1900 didn’t know what an atom was. They didn’t know its structure. They also didn’t know what a radio was, or an airport, or a movie, or a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or a jet, an antibiotic, a rocket, a satellite, an MRI, ICU, IUD, IBM, IRA, ERA, EEG, EPA, IRS, DOD, PCP, HTML, internet. interferon, instant replay, remote sensing, remote control, speed dialing, gene therapy, gene splicing, genes, spot welding, heat-seeking, bipolar, prozac, leotards, lap dancing, email, tape recorder, CDs, airbags, plastic explosive, plastic, robots, cars, liposuction, transduction, superconduction, dish antennas, step aerobics, smoothies, twelve-step, ultrasound, nylon, rayon, teflon, fiber optics, carpal tunnel, laser surgery, laparoscopy, corneal transplant, kidney transplant, AIDS…
“None of this would have meant anything to a person in the year 1900. They wouldn’t know what you are talking about.
“Now. You tell me you can predict the world of 2100. Tell me it’s even worth thinking about. Our models just carry the present into the future. They’re bound to be wrong. Everybody who gives a moment’s thought knows it.”