Sea level may rise higher than predicted from ice melting and low-lying cities could face possible disaster by end of century
Global sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previous and widely accepted estimates have predicted, according to a study published on Thursday saying low-lying cities face possible disaster by the end of the century.
Sea levels could surge more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) by 2100 from melting Antarctic ice alone, on top of a three-foot rise already predicted, said the study by two American researchers that appeared in the science journal Nature.
That same Antarctic ice melt could add nearly 50 feet (15 meters) to sea levels by the year 2500, it said.
The earlier, commonly accepted prediction was made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013 estimating global sea levels rising more than three feet by 2100.
"This could spell disaster for many low-lying cities," said co-author Robert DeConto, professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in a statement.
Boston, for example, could see around a 5 foot rise in the sea level (more than 1.5 meters) by the end of the century, he said.
Other low-lying cities often cited as being at risk from rising sea levels include London, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney, Australia and Venice.
The findings should lead to more greenhouse gas emission cuts, said co-author David Pollard, a senior scientist at Pennsylvania State University's Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.
While the findings are "worst-case" possibilities, they "should be considered seriously," he said.