Keyword Tag Sort by


Categories: Sea Levels IPCC predictions Prediction models Geophysics Climate Radiation balance Greenhouse gas Global Warming

Studies Agree on a 1 Meter Rise in Sea Levels

New research from several international research groups, including the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen provides independent consensus that IPCC predictions of less than a half a meter rise in sea levels is around 3 times too low. The new estimates show that the sea will rise approximately 1 meter in the next 100 years in agreement with other recent studies. The results have been published in the scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters. 

Since IPCC published the predictions in 2007, that the sea would rise less than half a metre in the next 100 years, it became clear that there was a problem with the prediction models as they did not take into account the dynamic effects of the melting ice sheets. The estimates were therefore too low. 

Better prediction models

However, the new model estimates, from international research groups from England, China and Denmark, give independent support for the much higher predictions from other recent studies.

”Instead of using temperature to calculate the rise in sea levels, we have used the radiation balance on Earth – taking into account both the warming effect of greenhouse gasses and the cooling effect from the sulfur clouds of large volcanic eruptions, which block radiation”, explains Aslak Grinsted, PhD in geophysics at the Centre for Ice and Climate, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.


The research is based on observations of sea levels from the 1700s to the present and estimates of the radiation balance through approximately 1000 years.
The sun’s heat varies periodically and currently there is a solar minimum, but even if solar radiation were to reach its lowest level in the past 9300 years, it will have only a minimal impact on sea levels. Some have suggested that you could inject sulfur into the atmosphere and get a kind of artificial volcanic eruption cooling effect, but the calculations show that it would only slow down the rise in sea levels for 12-20 years. What are important are greenhouse gasses like CO2, the research shows.

Reduced emissions

The results are that the sea level will rise between 0.7 and 1.2 meters during the next 100 years. The difference depends on what mankind does to stop the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If we seriously reduce the emissions of CO2 globally, the sea will only rise 0.7 meters, while there will be a dramatic rise of 1.2 meter if we continue indifferent with the current use of energy based on fossil fuels. 

In the calculations the researchers assume that we continue to emit CO2, but that we move more towards other energy supplies and reduce our use of fossil fuels and with that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. This scenario would give a rise in sea levels of around 1 meter.


Recent studies agree that sea level will rise by
roughly one meter over this century for a mid-
range emission scenario. This is 3 times higher
than predicted by the IPCC.

Other energy sources important now
Even a one meter rise in sea levels would have a big impact in some places in the world with low lying areas, which will become much more susceptible to extreme  storm surges, where water could easily sweep over the coasts. 

”The research results show that it is therefore important to do something now to curb the emission of CO2 - there is about a half meter difference in sea level depending on whether nations of the world continue to pump greenhouse gases from fossil fuels into the atmosphere or whether we slam on the brakes and use other energy sources”, explains Aslak Grinsted.

LInk: Geophysical Research Letters

Contact: Gertie Skaarup, Tel: +45 35 32 53 20, Email: skaarup@nbi.dk

Source: Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

Photos (2)  [ view all photos ]


The likelihood of flooding due to storm surges increases greatly if the ocean rises one meter. Such a rise in sea level will not flood large areas of land, but what is regarded as exceptionally high water level will occur at least 1.000 times more often in vulnerable areas. (Photo: Northland Regional Council, New Zealand)


Recent studies agree that sea level will rise by roughly one meter over this century for a mid- range emission scenario. This is 3 times higher than predicted by the IPCC. (Niels Bohr Institute)

Related News:

The Earth’s Centre is 1000 Degrees Hotter than Previously Thought 29 April 2013, 07:15
Scientists have determined the temperature near the Earth’s centre to be 6000 degrees Celsius,...

Scientific discovery offers 'green' solution in fight... 24 September 2012, 03:27
A low-cost new material that could lead to innovative technologies to tackle global warming has...

Two degrees is too much for most coral reefs 17 September 2012, 05:43
A modelling study from an international collaboration involving German, Canadian and Australian...

Global Warming Harms Lakes 16 July 2012, 12:10
Global warming also affects lakes. Based on the example of Lake Zurich, researchers from the...

Research Shows Humans are Primary Cause of Global Ocean Warming... 11 June 2012, 03:36
The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone.LIVERMORE, Calif. --...

Climate more sensitive to carbon dioxide now than in past epochs 7 June 2012, 05:15
Counterexample from the geologic record highlights today's close coupling of climate and...

Defects Make Catalysts Perfect 25 April 2012, 10:30
Insights into the process which converts carbon dioxide into methanol could make it possible to...

What Triggers a Mass Extinction? 10 April 2012, 02:44
Caltech researchers say habitat loss and tropical cooling were to blame for mass...

Corals 'Could Survive a More Acidic Ocean' 2 April 2012, 05:35
Corals may be better placed to cope with the gradual acidification of the world’s oceans than...

Global Sea Level Likely to Rise as Much as 70 Feet for Future... 19 March 2012, 11:13
Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), as the...

Credits / Source:

The likelihood of flooding due to storm surges increases greatly if the ocean rises one meter. Such a rise in sea level will not flood large areas of land, but what is regarded as exceptionally high water level will occur at least 1.000 times more often in vulnerable areas. (Photo: Northland Regional Council, New Zealand)


Recent studies agree that sea level will rise by roughly one meter over this century for a mid- range emission scenario. This is 3 times higher than predicted by the IPCC. (Niels Bohr Institute)