Bamber, Jonathan L., Michael Oppenheimer, Robert E. Kopp, Willy P. Aspinall, and Roger M. Cooke. “Ice sheet contributions to future sea-level rise from structured expert judgment.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019): 201817205.
In the NewsNBC News May 22, 2019
Rising sea levels could swamp major cities and displace almost 200 million people, scientists say
The risk posed by rising seas may be even more dire than we thought. A provocative new study co-authored by Lab co-director Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, suggests that as Earth’s climate continues to warm and the planet’s ice sheets continue to melt, seas could inundate coastal cities around the world, submerging vast swaths of land and displacing almost 200 million people by the end of the century. If we continue to take a “business as usual” approach to carbon emissions, sea level rise could plausibly exceed two meters (about seven and a half feet) by 2100, the study showed. A rise of that magnitude — which is more than twice as high as the upper limit predicted in a 2013 U.N. climate assessment — would have “profound consequences for humanity,” the scientists behind the new research concluded.
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Future sea level rise (SLR) poses serious threats to the viability of coastal communities, but continues to be challenging to project using deterministic modeling approaches. Nonetheless, adaptation strategies urgently require quantification of future SLR uncertainties, particularly upper-end estimates. Structured expert judgement (SEJ) has proved a valuable approach for similar problems. Our findings, using SEJ, produce probability distributions with long upper tails that are influenced by interdependencies between processes and ice sheets. We find that a global total SLR exceeding 2 m by 2100 lies within the 90% uncertainty bounds for a high emission scenario. This is more than twice the upper value put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the Fifth Assessment Report.Read