UN report warns of accelerating sea level rise in a warming world – POLITICO
MONACO — Global warming is harming the world’s oceans and mountains and fueling sea level rise — possibly faster than previously estimated, according to a landmark U.N. report on oceans and the planet’s frozen areas released Wednesday.
Temperatures are already 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which has had drastic effects on ecosystems, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned.
“The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise, and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe,” it said.
While sea levels rose by around 15 centimeters during the 20th century, “it is currently rising more than twice as fast — 3.6 mm per year — and accelerating.”
The report predicts that sea levels will “continue to rise for centuries” possibly reaching around 30 centimeters to 60 centimeters by 2100, even if countries step up emissions cuts and global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees — the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal.
However, “if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly,” then sea levels could rise by 60 centimeters to 1.1 meters.
The changes affect over a billion people.
Valérie Masson-Delmotte, a leading scientist working on the report said that Wednesday’s assessment also “revised upwards the projected contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise by 2100 in the case of high emissions of greenhouse gases,” but cautioned that there are “major uncertainties still remaining.”
Debra Roberts, another scientist working on the report, warned that global warming will only be kept to well below 2 degrees “if we effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society” including protecting ecosystems and carefully managing resources.