Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sea levels rising faster than IPCC projections

Date:
November 28, 2012
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
Sea levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's central projections, new research suggests. While temperature rises appear to be consistent with the projections made in the IPCC's fourth assessment report (AR4), satellite measurements show that sea levels are actually rising at a rate of 3.2 mm a year compared to the best estimate of 2 mm a year in the report.

Sea-levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) central projections, new research suggests.
Credit: © byheaven / Fotolia

Sea levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) central projections, new research suggests.

While temperature rises appear to be consistent with the projections made in the IPCC's fourth assessment report (AR4), satellite measurements show that sea levels are actually rising at a rate of 3.2 mm a year compared to the best estimate of 2 mm a year in the report.

The researchers, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Tempo Analytics and Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, believe that findings such as these are important for keeping track of how well past projections match the accumulating observational data, especially as projections made by the IPCC are increasingly being used in decision making.

The study, which has been published November 28, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, involved an analysis of global temperatures and sea-level data over the past two decades, comparing them both to projections made in the IPCC's third and fourth assessment reports.

Results were obtained by taking averages from the five available global land and ocean temperature series.

After removing the three known phenomena that cause short-term variability in global temperatures -- solar variations, volcanic aerosols and El Nino/Southern Oscillation -- the researchers found that the overall warming trend at the moment is 0.16°C per decade, which closely follows the IPCC's projections.

Satellite measurements of sea levels showed a different picture, however, with current rates of increase being 60 per cent faster than the IPCC's AR4 projections.

Satellites measure sea-level rise by bouncing radar waves back off the sea surface and are much more accurate than tide gauges as they have near-global coverage; tide gauges only sample along the coast. Tide gauges also include variability that has nothing to do with changes in global sea level, but rather with how the water moves around in the oceans, such as under the influence of wind.

The study also shows that it is very unlikely that the increased rate is down to internal variability in our climate system and also shows that non-climatic components of sea-level rise, such as water storage in reservoirs and groundwater extraction, do not have an effect on the comparisons made.

Lead author of the study, Stefan Rahmstorf, said: "This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has under-estimated the problem of climate change. That applies not just for sea-level rise, but also to extreme events and the Arctic sea-ice loss."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stefan Rahmstorf, Grant Foster, Anny Cazenave. Comparing climate projections to observations up to 2011. Environmental Research Letters, 2012; 7 (4): 044035 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044035

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Sea levels rising faster than IPCC projections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128093911.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2012, November 28). Sea levels rising faster than IPCC projections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128093911.htm
Institute of Physics. "Sea levels rising faster than IPCC projections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128093911.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins