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Sea level rise from the current rate of ice sheet melt in Antarctica and Greenland present "worst-case climate change scenario," researchers say. (Photo: Jadeo/Pixabay)

'Worst-Case Scenario' of Melting Ice and Sea Level Rise Coming to Pass, Warn Researchers

At its current rate, the sea level rise will be "enough to double the frequency of storm-surge flooding in many of the world's largest coastal cities" by the end of the century. 

Julia Conley

The lives and homes of sixteen million people living in coastal areas around the world could be threatened by the current rate of ice-melt in Antarctica and Greenland, which tracks with the "worst-case scenario" put forward by global scientists.

Researchers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study this week showing that the scenario the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned about is coming true as the melting of ice has accelerated in recent years, with sea levels rising 1.8 centimeters or 0.7 inches since the 1990s.

"The rate at which they are melting has accelerated faster than we could have imagined."
—Dr. Tom Slater, University of Leeds

Over the last five years, the study shows, melting ice has overtaken thermal expansion—in which the volume of sea water grows as it gets warmer—as the primary driver of sea level rise. 

The alarming findings of the study, published Monday in Nature Climate Change, follows research published by Ohio State University last month, which showed that Greenland's ice melt has passed the "point of no return," and even redoubled efforts to stop the warming of the globe by ending fossil fuel extraction will not be enough to stem looming catastrophe.

If Greenland's ice sheet were to disintegrate entirely, the study published this week said, sea levels would rise more than 22 feet. 

The loss of Antarctica would cause sea levels to rise 190 feet. 

The complete loss of the two ice masses is not currently anticipated by scientists, but the current melting rate could add 17 centimeters, or more than six inches, to sea levels by the end of the century.

"Although we anticipated the ice sheets would lose increasing amounts of ice in response to the warming of the oceans and atmosphere, the rate at which they are melting has accelerated faster than we could have imagined," said Dr. Tom Slater, lead author of the study.

The expected sea level rise has significant implications for coastal cities and towns around the world, the authors said, and humanity is currently "in danger of being unprepared" for the impacts.

The effects of the current rate of ice-melt could be "calamitous" even in the next two decades, tweeted climate campaigner Ben See in response to the study. 

The expected change in sea levels by the end of the century would be "enough to double the frequency of storm-surge flooding in many of the world's largest coastal cities," said Dr. Anna Hogg, co-author of the study. 


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'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

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