In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels.
|Monday's new study greatly increases the potential|
for catastrophic near-term sea level rise.
Here, Miami Beach, among the most vulnerable
cities to sea level rise in the world.
The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be “substantially more persuasive than anything previously published.” I certainly find them to be.
Read the story by Eric Holthaus on Slate - “Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning.”