Climate change has largely been underestimated, new study says
By now, most people agree that, as a result of higher global average temperatures and the new patterns for ice melting in the Arctic, coastlines around the world are soon to be affected by rising sea levels.Still, a new research whose findings were made public in the journal Environmental Research Letters indicates that sea levels might in fact be rising about 60% faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argued at one point in the past.
Thus, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change maintains that, all things considered, sea levels are rising at an average of 2 millimeters per year.
This new study disagrees, and argues that sea levels are in fact going up by as much as 3.2 millimeters on a yearly basis.
Although it might not sound like such a big deal at first, seeing how, more often than not, an extra 1.2 millimeters hardly change anything, the fact remains that, on the longer run, coastal regions and islands are likely to experience serious problems.
“This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has under-estimated the problem of climate change. That applies not just for sea-level rise, but also to extreme events and the Arctic sea-ice loss,” explains Stefan Rahmstorf, the lead author for this study.
Interestingly enough, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's estimates concerning the potential increase in global average temperatures are true to facts.
“In contrast to the physics of global warming itself, sea-level rise is much more complex. To improve future projections it is very important to keep track of how well past projections match observational data,” Stefan Rahmstorf wished to emphasize in order to explain why further research on this topic is badly needed.
This study was carried out by specialists working with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and mainly revolved around comparing climate projections and actual observations from 1990 up until 2011.