Scientists predict multimeter rise in sea level

The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet, with current global warming trends, could lead to a five-meter rise in sea levels by the year 3000. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from Japan. Forecasts until the end of this century are more modest – from zero to thirty centimeters. The research results are published in the Journal of Glaciology.

One of the recognized consequences of global warming is the rise in sea levels due to the melting and retreat of the Earth’s ice sheets and glaciers. Researchers from Hokkaido University, the University of Tokyo and the Japan Earth Science and Technology Agency have studied the long-term prospect of the Antarctic ice sheet melting in the face of global warming.

The work was part of a major international initiative to intercomparison of the latest generation of coupled models to assess the impact of global warming on the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets (ISMIP6), launched during the preparation of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The authors used the SICOPOLIS ice cover model (SImulation COde for POLythermal Ice Sheets). In total, the ISMIP6 initiative considers fourteen unrelenting warming scenarios and three emission reduction options. In order to make a comparison, the same initial conditions are adopted for all models. It is also conditionally assumed that after 2100, global climatic parameters will remain unchanged.

Scientists have analyzed scenarios of the general change in the mass of the ice sheet throughout the Antarctic continent and in its individual regions, taking into account various factors for the period up to 3000 years.

The modeling results showed that with unrelenting warming, the contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise by 2100 could reach thirty centimeters, and by the end of the millennium – 5.4 meters. With a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, these figures, according to researchers, will be respectively three centimeters and 0.32 meters.

“Our study clearly demonstrates that the impact of climate change on the Antarctic ice sheet extends well beyond the 21st century, and the most serious impacts, in the form of multimeter contributions to sea level rise, are likely to manifest much later,” Hokkaido University said in a press release. by the lead author of the article, Dr. Christopher Chambers of the Low Temperature Institute.

The researchers believe that the main risk factor is the possibility of collapse of the ice sheet of West Antarctica in the sea, which rests on a base that is well below sea level.

In the future, the authors plan to continue work on modeling the ice cover in Antarctica and other regions of the Earth based on realistic climatic scenarios.

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