Sea level rise projections doubled for 2100, because of Antarctica

Sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, according to new research.

The startling findings, published in the journal Nature, paint a far grimmer picture than current consensus predictions, which have suggested that seas could rise by just under a meter at most by the year 2100. Those estimates relied on the notion that expanding ocean waters and the melting of relatively small glaciers would fuel the majority of sea level rise, but did not factor in changes to the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

The projection “nearly doubles” prior estimates of sea level rise, which had relied on a “minimal contribution from Antarctica,” said Rob DeConto of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who authored the study with David Pollard of Penn State University.

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Image: NASA