Sea-level study shows signs of things to come

Oct 01, 2012

Our greenhouse gas emissions up to now have triggered an irreversible warming of the Earth that will cause sea-levels to rise for thousands of years to come, new research has shown.

The results come from a study, published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, which sought to model sea-level changes over millennial timescales, taking into account all of the Earth's land ice and the warming of the oceans—something which has not been done before.

The research showed that we have already committed ourselves to a sea-level rise of 1.1 meters by the year 3000 as a result of our up to now. This irreversible damage could be worse, depending on the route we take to mitigating our emissions.

If we were to follow the high A2 emissions scenario adopted by the (IPCC), a sea-level rise of 6.8 meters could be expected in the next thousand years. The two other IPCC scenarios analysed by the researchers, the B1 and A1B scenarios, yielded sea-level rises of 2.1 and 4.1 meters respectively.

"Ice sheets are very slow components in the ; they respond on time scales of thousands of years," said co-author of the study Professor Philippe Huybrechts.

"Together with the long life-time of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, this inertia is the real poison on the climate system: anything we do now that changes the forcing in the climate system will necessarily have long consequences for the ice sheets and sea level."

In all of the scenarios that the researchers analysed, the was responsible for more than half of the sea level rises; of the oceans was the second highest contributor, and the contribution of glaciers and ice was only small.

The researchers believe this is the first study to include glaciers, ice caps, the Greenland and and the thermal expansion of the oceans into a projection of sea-level rises. They did so by using a climate modelling system called LOVECLIM, which includes components from a number of different subsystems.

The polar ice sheets are not normally included into projections due to computational constraints, whilst researchers often find it difficult to account for the 200 000 individual glaciers that are found all over the world in very different climatic settings.

Professor Huybrechts continued: "Ultimately the current polar ice sheets store about 65 meters of equivalent sea level and if climatic warming will be severe and long-lasting all ice will eventually melt.

"Mankind should limit the concentration of at the lowest possible level as soon as possible. The only realistic option is a drastic reduction of the emissions. The lower the ultimate warming will be, the less severe the ultimate consequences will be."

Explore further: New study confirms water vapor as global warming amplifier

More information: Millennial total sea-level commitments projected with the Earth system model of intermediate LOVECLIM, H Goelzer, P Huybrechts, S C B Raper, M-F Loutre, H Goosse and T Fichefet 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 045401. iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/045401/article

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User comments : 39

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JoeBlue
1.8 / 5 (34) Oct 01, 2012
"MODEL sea-level changes over millennial timescales"

When are they going to start actually doing real science instead of just putzing around sucking up tax-dollars and scaring the piss out of the ignorant among the public?
Skepticus
1.9 / 5 (23) Oct 01, 2012
Humans are a variable lot. There would be some who always have absolute conviction that they are in the right. To them: "an irreversible warming of the Earth that will cause sea-levels to rise for thousands of years to come" sounds as significant as when the odorous gases emitted from their back end. So much for objectivity or education. it's easier to persuade Jesus and Mohamed to go to a brothel and have a good time than changing those. Prove me wrong, anyone?
Tewk
1.7 / 5 (28) Oct 01, 2012
No kidding Joe.
The weathermen can't even get tomorrow's forecast correct.
This is "science" for dummies
ScooterG
1.8 / 5 (32) Oct 01, 2012
Just another bulls**t article about a bulls**t study conducted by some fraud who has the audacity to call himself a scientist - nuthin' but scamming huckster frauds.
wealthychef
3.8 / 5 (23) Oct 01, 2012
No kidding Joe.
The weathermen can't even get tomorrow's forecast correct.
This is "science" for dummies

Like the kind of dummies who don't know the difference between weather and climate?
JoeBlue
1.9 / 5 (23) Oct 01, 2012
No kidding Joe.
The weathermen can't even get tomorrow's forecast correct.
This is "science" for dummies

Like the kind of dummies who don't know the difference between weather and climate?


What makes you think anyone here does not know the difference? Also what makes the two independent of each other?
eachus
1.6 / 5 (11) Oct 01, 2012
The problem with this study is that it ignores the fact that tomorrow's technology will not be today's technology. Imagine a polymer that turns white or reflective when subjected to UV, then returns to black over a period of an hour. (Just the opposite of your self-darkening glasses, but that's detail.) Now spray this material over thousands square miles from aircraft. (That's the new technology trick. You want the monomer to polymerize into thin sheets. Similar to how plastic food wrap is made today, but without rollers and stretchers hanging from the plane. ;-)

A warning though. Stopping global warming on the cheap won't stop increasing CO2 levels. Current CO2 levels may not be worrisome from a human standpoint, but they are already affecting how often you breathe. You exhale, then inhale, when blood CO2 levels reach a certain point. This means you are breathing more air, and air pollution. My guess is that current CO2 levels are killing asthmatics by causing more attacks
axemaster
4.1 / 5 (22) Oct 01, 2012
Well, this thread certainly contains the stereotypical denialists... Are you guys doing this as a parody or something?

I mean seriously, it's hard to believe that so many people could descend on the same thread at once, spouting the same ignorant nonsense. Unless of course they were all the same person...

Regarding the article, I find these studies of future sea level rise interesting. However, they aren't particularly relevant to the immediate problems, which are biome shifts in agricultural areas and ocean acidification. Both of these represent immediate threats to the food supply and thus international security, and are happening right now. And both are a direct consequence of climate change and rising CO2 levels, respectively.
dogbert
2 / 5 (21) Oct 01, 2012
The more they fail in their predictions of doom, the more they predict more doom.

The guy on the street corner with the "The End is Near" sign is laughable. But when it is promoted by people calling themselves scientists, it is just sad. When it continues unabated daily by more people calling themselves scientists, it becomes ludicrous.
semmsterr
3.2 / 5 (18) Oct 01, 2012
Congrats to all the selfish creeps who make cheap shots and don't give a hoot just because they won't be here to reap the consequences of their actions.
axemaster
3.9 / 5 (19) Oct 01, 2012
Congrats to all the selfish creeps who make cheap shots and don't give a hoot just because they won't be here to reap the consequences of their actions.

I'm 22, so all of this bears direct consequences for me. Which is why I get pretty *upset* when people come in here making all sorts of stupid claims about how global warming isn't happening, etc. etc.

But don't worry. The generations to come won't remember you. You'll be relegated to the trash-heap of history - people so spoiled by their wealth that they were incapable of doing the right thing. You have no proud moment, no Churchhill, no Patton. Just silence.
rockwolf1000
4 / 5 (20) Oct 01, 2012
Either you believe in AGW or you don't.

That doesn't change the fact that there's dozens of reasons for us to get off our dependency petroleum products. Air quality being but just one of them.

But, we are going no where with all these conspiracy accusations. I don't believe in a conspiracy. Way too hard to pull off these days. The weather has been acting strangely for some time now. That indicates the climate is changing.

The consequences of AGW are dire and bleak.
The consequences of getting off dirty oil are all shiny and bright.

Do the math. Use your frikkin heads.
rockwolf1000
3.6 / 5 (13) Oct 01, 2012
Why worry about it? We're pretty much screwed anyway.
If climate change doesn't kill us;
deforestation
over-fishing
pollution
nuclear accident/war
species loss or something else surely will.
But some people think you can't cut down too many trees, or catch too many fish, or have too many babies, or dump too much raw sewage and garbage in the rivers and oceans, or have too many cattle ranches. Some idiots even think there's no limit to how much oil we can burn before we ruin the planet.
Root cause - Overpopulation.
Cave_Man
3.6 / 5 (14) Oct 01, 2012

Root cause - Overpopulation and Under-education.


All these idiots spouting moronic opinions about the scientists who tell us these things, but why would all the scam artists in the world choose global warming if they were a scam artist. Seems like hedgefund manager or stock broker would be a little more successful. I mean there is no scientist in a white lab coat shaking the hands of a windmill manufacturer and being handed a briefcase full of money. If you want to focus on an issue of importance do a little research into Monsanto, the people behind that company control WAY TOO MUCH. Out of the executive branch of our federal govt there is well over 10% ex monsanto employees. More people in our govt have worked for monsanto than haliburton by an order of magnitude.

Just saying you might want to pay attention to the evil rich guys trying to control every piece of food you put in your mouth and stop worrying about intelligent people building solar panels and windmills.
Jeddy_Mctedder
2.1 / 5 (22) Oct 01, 2012
let's hope that it's warming and that mother earth is already doing it on her own so that we can only help accelerate an already unstoppable trend for the better.

On average , human beings will be far better off with a warmer planet.
SteveL
3.5 / 5 (8) Oct 01, 2012
I figure we're going to start killing each other off in some real numbers within the next several generations. Whether due to plague, resources, food, water, politics or religion it won't really matter. Things have a way of balancing out and humanity will cull its self. Racially psychotic, we just can't seem to help ourselves, especially when there are so very many rats in the cage.
DavidW
1.5 / 5 (11) Oct 01, 2012

That doesn't change the fact that there's dozens of reasons for us to get off our dependency petroleum products. Air quality being but just one of them.


Air quality? :) http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/8896

TheKnowItAll
2 / 5 (8) Oct 02, 2012
We should start pumping water to the deserts. I'm sure these areas won't mind the extra water. lol
SuicideSamurai
3.5 / 5 (11) Oct 02, 2012
"MODEL sea-level changes over millennial timescales"

When are they going to start actually doing real science instead of just putzing around sucking up tax-dollars and scaring the piss out of the ignorant among the public?


So you are saying you HAVE NOT A SINGLE CLUE about what modelling the climate requires?

These models are based on data sets. That is mathematical representations of physical phenomena. I mean its simple enough to understand: Gravity, moisture, wind, all can be represented as equations, those equations are then crunched by a computer.

The reason the models are different is that they take into account different data sets, and after running them they compare the results across multiple models looking for similarities.

Finally they can test these models against the past as well. They input data that is based on past climate data then compare the results with what actually happened.

All this is done under the guidelines of scientific methodology.
SuicideSamurai
3.7 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2012
Just another bulls**t article about a bulls**t study conducted by some fraud who has the audacity to call himself a scientist - nuthin' but scamming huckster frauds.


Yes because you have are the expert in climate science and know exactly what is a scam when you see it.

Why do you even read these articles? Why are you even involved with anything scientific? Hmm?
Mayday
2.8 / 5 (13) Oct 02, 2012
These results are fairly mild. Where I live the sea level has been rising about 3mm/year for the last 9,000 years. And half of that is due to the subsidence(sp?) of the continent. That rate is right in line with the first prediction. It's status quo. Even the highest prediction only triples the rate. And speeding the rise would take a century or two, right? These slow changes will be adapted to with relatively small upset in your vacation plans.
GuruShabu
1.8 / 5 (15) Oct 02, 2012
Imense pile of crap!
Full stop
Jitterbewegung
2.6 / 5 (11) Oct 02, 2012
The last I read in the physorg article about the woman devoted to sea level rise was that the sea would rise 1 metre by 2100. Now it's changed to 1 metre by 3000. Wow, this is good news, we should all be celebrating.
rkolter
2.3 / 5 (9) Oct 02, 2012
Oh good grief.
It's an interesting article, it models what we know now, and extrapolates into the distant future. Is it accurate? Maybe. Certainly continued warming will continue to have effects on sea level rise. But I think too many people here are trying to say that they've gone forward in time and used a measuring stick. Ease up.

What I am more concerned with is that some nutty journalist will grab this and say, "Sea Levels Expected to rise by as much as 4.1 meters!!!!!!" ::eyeroll::
lurch
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 02, 2012
"taking into account all of the Earth's land ice and the warming of the oceans—something which has not been done before."

So all the other models we were supposed to believe did not take these fundamental parameters into account. What else have they missed out?

Just because a model has been calibrated to past data does not mean it will correlate with the future.
RobPaulG
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 02, 2012
Another hilarious propaganda piece. The sky is falling! Waaaah, I'm so scared...
jscroft
1.4 / 5 (11) Oct 02, 2012
Twenty years from now all this is going to make a marvelously hilarious coffee-table book. I'm gonna get rich on it, too, if I can just think of a really catchy title...
TomD
5 / 5 (6) Oct 02, 2012
When are they going to start actually doing real science instead of just putzing around sucking up tax-dollars


Joe, Huybrechts lives in *Belgium*. I doubt any of your money funds him.

http://homepages....huybrec/
natex
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 02, 2012
Honest question here:

"Ice sheets are very slow components in the climate system; they respond on time scales of thousands of years."

Does this mean that current ice sheet melting isn't due to the past 300 years of man's industry?
Dark_Squirrel
5 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2012
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/great-reef-catastrophe-20121002-26vzq.html How it managed to survive the last 40 millions of years, if the undergoing global warming is only "mild" and "periodic" event?


http://www.barrie...acts.htm - umm according to this... http://www.reef.c...gbr.html - and this... it seems the great barrier reef is only 500,000 years old...

The oceans makeup has changed throughout the years, coral thrive in a calcium carbinate rich environment. There were periods in the oceans history where this was not the case the ocean was much more alkalai and could not support coral as they are now. There were other species which also prevented reefs from thriving as well.
Additionally, ocean level changing does kill off reefs because the algae which grows with the coral requires ample sunlight and an increase in sealevel will cause less sunlight to poke through.
ScooterG
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 02, 2012
Honest question here:

"Ice sheets are very slow components in the climate system; they respond on time scales of thousands of years."

Does this mean that current ice sheet melting isn't due to the past 300 years of man's industry?


Nice try, natex. There is nothing honest about the AGW charade, but that doesn't matter. Be a good little chump, accept AGW as real, and open your wallet.
clint_norwood
4.3 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2012
Have a little faith in humanity. Well within 100 years technology will easily solve this problem.

I wish the sides would stop arguing the cause of global warming and start working on ways to fix it that does not involve lowering the quality of life.

We absolutely do and will depend on fossil fuels for the next 100 years or until someone invents or discovers a real alternative. May as well accept this and start working on real solutions.
TomD
5 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2012
The guy on the street corner with the "The End is Near" sign is laughable. But when it is promoted by people calling themselves scientists, it is just sad. When it continues unabated daily by more people calling themselves scientists, it becomes ludicrous.


scientist (noun): One whose activities make use of the scientific method to answer questions regarding the measurable universe. A scientist may be involved in original research, or make use of the results of the research of others.

Here is the curriculum vitae of Professor Huybrechts from the article, he *is* a scientist. Yes, even if you don't agree with his claims.
http://homepages....ulum.htm
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (4) Oct 02, 2012
The last I read in the physorg article about the woman devoted to sea level rise was that the sea would rise 1 metre by 2100. Now it's changed to 1 metre by 3000. Wow, this is good news, we should all be celebrating.

You didn't even read the whole article did you? If you did, your reading comprehension is the pits. Back to grammar school for you my friend.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2012
Honest question here:

Does this mean that current ice sheet melting isn't due to the past 300 years of man's industry?

"Ice sheets are very slow components in the climate system; they respond on time scales of thousands of years."
I dunno. Have the ice sheets melted completely yet? Or are they just starting to melt now? I'd think a 300 year lag makes perfect sense if were talking about thousand year timescales.
ScooterG
1 / 5 (9) Oct 02, 2012
Honest question here:

Does this mean that current ice sheet melting isn't due to the past 300 years of man's industry?

"Ice sheets are very slow components in the climate system; they respond on time scales of thousands of years."
I dunno. Have the ice sheets melted completely yet? Or are they just starting to melt now? I'd think a 300 year lag makes perfect sense if were talking about thousand year timescales.


"they respond on time scales of thousands of years". In this article, "thousands" is plural - could be two thousand years, could be two hundred thousand years. This is the essence of AGW - WE JUST DON"T FRICKING KNOW!
Dug
1 / 5 (5) Oct 02, 2012
Since the article was about sea-level change and seems to be some debate regarding whether it's a problem or not, I wonder how many of you know much about the science and measurements being debated. Whether you think you know, or know you know, I suggest you go read the following link on seal level change science - I suggest you note the section on Satellite Sea Level Measurement (this article had this section titled as "Satellite Sea Level Measurement Error until recently) - which is nearly 100% greater projection than actual tidal gauges. The truth is likely in the middle. My conclusion is that AGW, CC, and SLC is far from precise and as a result most climate projections are exceptionally suspect. Sea level rise especially. (http://en.wikiped...el_rise)
Lurker2358
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 06, 2012
Where did they come up with these numbers for the thousand year projection?

Using a linear projection of the present day sea level rise rate, the Sea would rise by 3.1m in 1000 years, even if not another ounce of CO2 was added to the atmosphere.

Based on Grace measurements and other data, the rate of net melting of Greenland alone ACCELERATES by 20km per year every year.

At this rate of acceleration of net melting, Greenland will totally melt in 500 years (33 has been happening that we know of).

This number is misleading, since the SLOPE of the Keeling curve is going to double or triple in the next 25 to 35 years, due to population growth and deforestation alone, as world population climbs to ridiculous levels, as African and Middle-Eastern countries multiply like rabbits on an aphrodesiac.
Urgelt
5 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2012
Modeling is all about the variables included.

My question is, did they attempt to include arctic methane release? It doesn't sound as though they bothered with it.