Chennai: City alert: Study doubles estimate for sea level rise

Days before the Copenhagen conference on climate change kicks off, a major study by a group of 100 international scientists has said that sea levels are likely to rise by as much as 1.4 metres (more than 4 feet) by the end of this century. That’s twice as much as previously predicted in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fourth assessment report of 2007.

The report released by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) is the first comprehensive review of the impact of global warming on Antarctica. The IPCC’s 2007 report had projected that sea-levels could rise by 18cm to 59cm by 2099. Subsequent studies of glacial melts in Greenland and Antarctica had raised fears that sea rise could be much higher than that.

“We can see the west Antarctic glaciers are shrinking at a rate fast enough to contribute to a sea level rise of 1.4 m by 2100, but it will be no more than that,” SCAR executive director Colin Summerhayes told reporters at a media briefing in London.

If these projections come true, most areas in low-lying island nations like the Maldives would go under the sea. Based on earlier studies, the UN’s environmental panel has already warned that sea levels would be high enough to make the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100. The new study also significantly enhances the threat to the Indian coast — and cities like Mumbai, Chennai and the low-lying Kolkata.

From TOI

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