Experts Predict Sea Level Rise of More Than Three Feet

Written by on January 9, 2013 in Other News
Melt water in NW Greenland.

Melt water in NW Greenland. Photo credit: NOAA.

According to a new scientific pole of experts, we can expect global sea level to rise by more than three feet by the end of the century. This dramatic rise is due primarily to the melting of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland.

“The consequences are horrible,” Jonathan Bamber, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol and a co-author of the study, told NBC News.

The exact amount by which sea level will rise is still debated by scientists. In addition, the complexity of glaciers adds a whole other level of uncertainty. Bamber and co-author Willy Aspinall set out to determine the most likely scenario by polling 26 of the world’s leading glaciologists. About half answered the questions in 2010 and they were re-polled in 2012.

“We analyzed the results in a very systematic, rigorous, and statistically robust way,” Bamber said.

The results:

  • average estimate: melting ice will contribute one foot to sea level rise
  • there’s a five percent chance that ice could contribute over 2.8 feet
  • if thermal expansion is included, estimates exceed three feet

“The numbers we are getting out of our elicitation reflect the fact that the world leaders in this field are now cognizant of the fact that the ice sheets are quite responsive and, in particular, there is a potential for them to make a really quite dramatic contribution,” Bamber said.

Iceberg in the Ross Sea, Antarctica.

An iceberg drifting in the Ross Sea, from NOAA’s At The Ends of the Earth Collection. Photo credit: Michael Van Woert, NOAA NESDIS, ORA.

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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