Intentionally disregarding what else may happen as a consequence to global warming, a team of researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute in Denkmark has calculated the effects of global warming on sea levels alone. The team predicted them for the long run: until 2100 and 2500.
Of course, currently modern times will be to people living in 2500 as the medieval age is to us – so lots of things may happen until then. However, 2100 is not so far away and, even if we probably won’t live to see it – our children and nephews will and that may affect our plans for the future.
The model has been developed in collaboration with Chinese and British researchers and its foundation is what happens with the emission of greenhouse gases and aerosols and the pollution of the atmosphere.
The group’s most optimistic scenario presumed that the humanity will take accelerated measures towards stopping the emissions of greenhouse gases. Even with that in mind, it’s now impossible to stop the sea rise, and predictions are that it would go up to 60 centimeters by 2100 and to 1.8 meters by 2500. That could mean catastrophic consequences, as I said earlier, but it’s a long time ’till then.
The worst case scenario involved thinking that emissions will continue to rise just like they had been rising in the past few decades. In this case, the humanity will see the sea rising by 1.1 meters by 2100 and 5.5 meters by 2500, respectively.
The team also did another two, more realistic scenarios that predict a rise of about 75 centimeters by 2100 and 2 meters by 2500.
“In the 20th century sea has risen by an average of 2mm per year, but it is accelerating and over the last decades the rise in sea level has gone approximately 70% faster. Even if we stabilize the concentrations in the atmosphere and stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we can see that the rise in sea level will continue to accelerate for several centuries because of the sea and ice caps long reaction time. So it would be 2-400 years before we returned to the 20th century level of a 2 mm rise per year,” says Aslak Grinsted, a researcher at the Centre for Ice and Climate, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
Like I said, the impact of global warming will surely be felt in the coming decades – if not by us, then by our offsprings – and rising sea levels are only one side of the story. Air quality is another, and the plethora of other changes that may reshape our world are still another issue of debate. What can we do? We can not continue pretending that what we do is all good for the environment, we could consume less and recycle more – but you already knew that…