A paper published in Environmental Research Letters by the U.K. National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) scientist Dr Svetlana Jevrejeva provides new information about the probability of a sea-level rise reaching 180 cm by 2100.
In this study Dr Jevrejeva and colleagues explore the range of possible sea level rise by 2100 and add new data to the estimates currently available. Previously an upper limit, or ‘worst case scenario’, has not been possible to calculate, but this new study now looks beyond the previous data available to provide a more complete picture.
The estimate of 180cm as the upper limit is thought to be a low probability, only a 5% chance, but this worst case scenario sea level rise projection cannot be ruled out, given past climate proxy observations and current model limitations.
With sea levels continuing to rise in the 21st century, the impact assessment, risk management, adaptation strategy and long-term decision making in coastal areas depend on up to date future projections of sea levels.
Dr Jevrejeva said: “The upper limit of sea level rise is crucial for planning purposes in coastal areas, since infrastructure needs to survive the worst case situation. We hope that this new worst case scenario will assist planners by providing a next step forward since the IPCC AR5 report published last year.”