Published on 09 May 2020

Sea level could rise by more than 1 metre by 2100 if emission targets are not met, reveals survey of 100 international experts

The study used projections by more than 100 international experts for the global mean sea-level changes under two climate scenarios – low and high emissions.

An international study led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists found that the global mean sea-level rise could exceed 1 metre by 2100 and 5 metres by 2300 if global targets on emissions are not achieved.

The study used projections by more than 100 international experts for the global mean sea-level changes under two climate scenarios – low and high emissions. By surveying a wide range of leaders in the field, the study offers broader assurance about its projections for the ranges of future sea-level rise.

In a scenario where global warming is limited to 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the experts estimated a rise of 0.5 metres by 2100 and 0.5 to 2 metres by 2300. In a high-emissions scenario with 4.5 degree Celsius of warming, the experts estimated a larger rise of 0.6 to 1.3 metres by 2100 and 1.7 to 5.6 metres by 2300.

Professor Benjamin Horton, Acting Chair of NTU’s Asian School of the Environment [Billboard], who led the survey, said that sea-level rise projections and knowledge of their uncertainties are vital to make informed mitigation and adaptation decisions.

Prof Horton said, “The complexity of sea-level projections, and the sheer amount of relevant scientific publications, make it difficult for policymakers to get an overview of the state of the science. To obtain this overview, it is useful to survey leading experts on the expected sea-level rise, which provides a broader picture of future scenarios and informs policymakers so they can prepare necessary measures.”

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