Sea levels rising more quickly than predicted, warn scientists

 

A A A

Sea levels are rising faster than predicted as a result of climate change, scientists said today.

Satellite measurements show sea levels rose 3.2mm a year between 1993 and 2011, 60% above the 2mm estimate in central projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its most recent review of climate science.

A study published in the Institute of Physics (IOP) journal Environmental Research Letters said it was "very unlikely" the higher rate of sea level rise is due to natural variability such as temporary ice discharge from ice sheets.

Lead author Stefan Rahmstorf said: "This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has underestimated the problem of climate change.

"That applies not just for sea level rise but also to extreme events and the Arctic sea loss."

The researchers also warn that the rate of annual sea level rise may increase as global temperatures go up, a suggestion backed up by past sea level data and which leads to larger projections of future sea level rise than the IPCC predicts.

And they said the concern that the IPCC's estimates for future sea level rise are low is supported by the fact ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are increasingly losing mass, while the panel's projections assume that Antarctica will gain enough ice to compensate for losses from Greenland.

The study analysing global temperature and sea level data over the past two decades also found that temperature rises are consistent with the IPCC's projections in the fourth assessment report, published in 2007.

Once factors which cause natural variability in global temperatures, including solar and volcanic activity and the El Nino weather patterns in the Pacific, are removed there is an overall warming trend of 0.16C a decade.

This closely matches predictions by the IPCC, the researchers found.

The scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Tempo Analytics and Laboratoire d'Etudes en Geophysique et Oceanographie Spatiales, said it was important to assess how well past projections match what is happening as IPCC projections are increasingly used in decision-making.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent