Sea-level rise is one of the scariest effects of climate change. Over coming decades, scientists say it will put millions of people at risk in the continental United States, not to mention other parts of the world, including large parts of Asia and many Pacific islands.
By Kate Lunau|MOTHERBOARD
What’s even scarier is that it could happen a lot faster than we predicted.
In a new study in Nature, published Wednesday, two US climate scientists say that a melting Antarctica could contribute more than 1 meter of sea-level rise by 2100 (that’s over 3 feet), and more than 15 meters by 2500, if we keep pumping out greenhouse gases at current rates. In the worst-case scenario, their model doubles the best estimates of sea-level rise from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predicted over the next century.
For coastal cities like New York and Miami, “one to two meters would be very, very serious,” said co-author David Pollard of the Pennsylvania State University, adding that these rising sea levels will contribute to storm flooding and Hurricane Sandy-like storms. Over a few hundred years, a 10-meter sea level rise “would be mindbogglingly catastrophic,” he continued, and would make large swaths of our planet uninhabitable.