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Fri, Feb

Sea-Level Rise Projections Made Hazy by Antarctic Instability

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It may take until the 2060s to know how much the sea level will rise by the end of this century, according to a new Rutgers University–New Brunswick-led analysis. The study is the first to link global and local sea-level rise projections with simulations of two major mechanisms by which climate change can affect the vast Antarctic ice sheet.

It may take until the 2060s to know how much the sea level will rise by the end of this century, according to a new Rutgers University–New Brunswick-led analysis. The study is the first to link global and local sea-level rise projections with simulations of two major mechanisms by which climate change can affect the vast Antarctic ice sheet.

The Earth faces a broad range of possible outcomes with climate change. At the less severe end, 2 feet of global-average sea-level rise by 2100 would submerge land that’s currently home to about 100 million people. Toward the high end, 6 feet of rise would swamp the current homes of more than 150 million. Either scenario would have drastic impacts in New Jersey and other coastal states.

But the study, published today in Earth’s Future, finds that scientists won’t be able to determine, based on measurements of large-scale phenomena like global sea level and Antarctic mass changes, which scenario the planet faces until the 2060s. So coastal communities should have flexible contingency plans for a broad range of outcomes by 2100 and beyond, the study concludes.

Read more at Rutgers University

Photo: Ice loss from the Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, has doubled since the 1990s. The glacier appears to be collapsing due to marine ice-sheet instability.

CREDIT: NASA