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."

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

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen