Sea level rise already at 2-degree warming

Sea levels could rise significantly over the next few centuries, even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees, reaching between 1.5 and 4 metres above present-day sea level by the year 2300. The study, published in Nature and Climate Change, also shows that reducing emissions can have a significant impact on sea level rise. If global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, sea level rise will also be limited to between 0.9 and 2.4 metres. And with a global warming of 3 degrees, sea levels are expected to rise in the range between 2 and 5 metres above present levels.

The rising sea level will have a significant impact. “As an example, for New York City it has been shown that one metre of sea level rise could raise the frequency of severe flooding from once per century to once every three years,” says Stefan Rahmstorf co-author of the study.

Less global warming will also mean that sea level rise does not proceed as fast and this is very important for the people who live close to the sea. “Coastal communities have less time to adapt if sea levels rise faster,” says Stefan Rahmstorf.

Source: Nature and Climate Change and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

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