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Sea level rise may exceed 1 meter by 2100, experts say

But scientists say urgent and strong measures to control emissions could keep this rise down to 60 centimeters.

By Ananth Baliga

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Climate experts warn that sea levels could rise 1 meter by 2100 if greenhouse gases emissions continue unabated.

In a survey of sea-level experts, most believe that sea levels will rise more than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC estimates sea levels will rise 28-98 centimeters by 2100.

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The experts were selected from a group of 90 scientists, all of whom had recently published research on sea level rise.

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed believe sea levels will rise more than the high-end projections made by the IPCC, making the IPCC's estimates conservative at best.

More than 50 percent said that without significant changes, there will be a rise of 1.5m, while 27 percent said levels would rise by 2 meters or more by 2011.

The survey suggested that strong controls over emissions could keep the rise down to only 60 centimeters.

"From a risk management perspective, projections of future sea-level rise are of major importance for coastal planning, and for weighing options of different levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions," said Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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By 2300, 58 percent of the experts surveyed said sea levels would rise by 4 meters or more in the worst-case scenario.

Researchers do admit that there are challenges in sea level rise simulations due to the many processes that contribute, which could lead to uncertainties in the data. The survey's findings are published in Quaternary Science Reviews.

[Nature World News]

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