Oceans could rise by 8 metres

A A A

The world's oceans are likely to rise by seven to eight metres over the next 1,000 to 2,000 years, a leading Australian research institute said today, but drastic change is unlikely in the next few centuries.

The world's oceans are likely to rise by seven to eight metres over the next 1,000 to 2,000 years, a leading Australian research institute said today, but drastic change is unlikely in the next few centuries.

The estimates by the Antarctic Cooperative Research Center, based on the southern island state of Tasmania, contradict the theory that there could be a large rise in sea levels over the next century.

"We want to get away from extremist ideas about changes," said Professor Bill Budd, who led a team that made the projections based on existing estimates of global warming.

The findings are part of Australia's contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body that is reviewing scientific estimates on long-term climate change.

The new estimates were based on the "middle road" scenario on greenhouse gas emissions - that emissions will stabilize in 100 years at about triple the pre-industrial levels. Emissions are currently about 1.5 times that level.

The centre said any major ocean change would be associated with the melting of the two remaining ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

The smaller Greenland ice sheet would, if completely melted, raise ocean levels by six metres.

Calculations suggest that warming by a few degrees might melt most of the sheet, but it would take 1,000 to 2,000 years.

The much larger Antarctic ice sheet would, if entirely melted, raise the oceans by about 55 metres. But warming of two to three degrees would have little effect because Antarctic temperatures generally remain well below the melting point of ice.

However, a one to two metre rise over the next 2,000 years could occur if glacier flow into the ocean increased because of melting of ice floating around Antarctica.

The centre said that over the next century or two there would be little melting of the ice sheets and ocean levels would be determined by thermal expansion - water expanding when it is heated - and the melting of non-polar glaciers.

The best estimate was that the oceans would rise by "several tens of centimetres per century".

"This is good news," said the institute's director, Professor Garth Paltridge.

"It tells us we are not going to drown over the next few hundred years because the Antarctic or Greenland ice caps suddenly take it into their heads to melt. There are always science fiction yarns and films which have left the public with the impression that that will happen."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?