Sea Levels Rising - Global Warming Forecasts
The challenge is we have built most of our civilization within a few feet of sea level or right at the edge.
— Gary Griggs, January 2011
Director, Institute of Marine Sciences,
University of California, Santa Cruz
Co-Author, Living With
the Changing California Coast
2015 | Rising Seal Levels
2015. Lagos, Nigeria projected to be at risk from sea level rise. "Nigeria will suffer from climate-induced drought, desertification, and sea level rise. Already, approximately 1,350 square miles of Nigerian land turns to desert each year, forcing both farmers and herdsmen to abandon their homes. Lagos, the capital, is one of the West African coastal megacities [along with Alexandria, Egypt] that the IPCC identifies as at risk from sea level rise by 2015. This, coupled with high population growth (Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa, and three-fourths of the population is under the age of 30), will force significant migration and contribute to political and economic turmoil. It will, for instance, exacerbate the existing internal conflict over oil production in the Niger Delta." (Alexander T.J. Lennon, Jay Gulledge, J.R. McNeill, John Podesta, Peter Ogden, Leon Fuerth, R. James Woolsey, Julianne Smith, Richard Weitz, and Derek Mix. The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, November 5, 2007) See videos about Lagos, Nigeria sea level rise impacts.
2025 | Sea Level Rise
2025. Sea levels forecast to rise up to 10 inches by 2025 based on a 3 degree Fahrenheit rise in ocean temperatures.
“As global temperatures rise because of the greenhouse effect, oceans
levels expand by the warmer water temperatures and because of the
glacial melting, according to John S. Hoffman, director of EPA's Strategic Studies staff, which conducted [the Sea Level Rise Project].
The study provided two scenarios on the possible effects over the next
40 to 100 years. The low scenario, based on on the calculated
three-degree rise in ocean temperatures, will make the seas rise . . .
up to 10 inches by 2025. Such an increase by 2025 would be enough to
'significantly increase (storm and erosion) hazards at places like Ocean City [Maryland].' Hoffman said. . .
2025. Maryland shoreline in Somerset County projected to be eroded back 17 feet with a 2 inch sea level rise by 2025. “In August , consultants with URS Inc. presented a draft report [Somerset County, Maryland : Rising sea level guidance] on sea level rise to the Somerset County
Planning and Zoning Commission. They predicted that by 2025 the
shoreline will be eroded back some 17 feet across the board [with a sea
level rise of 2 inches or 53 mm], increasing to 42 feet by 2050 and 92
feet by 2100. The greatest impact will be in the Deal Island and Chance communities, while Smith Island for the most part will be underwater just 90 years [2098 or ca. 2100] from now. . . .
2025. Sea levels projected to rise 1.5 inches to 3.1 inches by the year 2025.
“Sea levels may rise by 1.5 inches to 3.1 inches by the year 2025 from
expansion of ocean water in a warming climate, a prediction says. But
forecasting the total sea level rise will require estimating the
contribution of runoff from melting glaciers, ‘a daunting task,’
researchers said. The projected increase from thermal expansion,
calculated for 1985 to 2025, compares to previous published estimates of
2.3 inches to 4.3 inches, they said. The study [Thermal Expansion of Sea Water Associated with Global Warming] in the British journal Nature, was prepared by Tom Wigley and S.C.B. Raper of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Mr. Wigley now is working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
in Boulder, Colo. Changes in sea level are being studied as one
consequence of the ‘greenhouse effect,’ a warming of the global climate
due to a buildup of certain gases in the atmosphere.
Sea Level Rise Impacts of Arctic and Antarctic Melting
already reached a tipping point where we will soon see an ice-free
Arctic Ocean in the summer.
As a result, the whole weather system could
— Dr. David Carlson
Director, International Polar Year
2030 | Rising Sea Levels
2030. 1 foot. California sea levels expected to rise up to one foot by 2030. “Sea levels along the California coast are expected to rise up to 1 foot [2 inches to 12 inches] in 20 years , 2 feet by 2050 and as much as 5 1/2 feet by the end of the century , climbing slightly more than the global average and increasing the risk of flooding and storm damage, a new study says. That's because much of California is sinking, extending the reach of a sea that is warming and expanding because of climate change, according to a report by a committee of scientists released Friday [June 22, 2012] by the National Research Council. . . . The report, commissioned by California, Oregon, Washington and several federal agencies, is the closest look yet at how global warming — which causes ocean water to expand and ice to melt — will raise sea levels along the West Coast. . . .
Although the rise in sea levels will happen gradually, [Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the committee that produced the report] said, its destructive power will be felt first when storms hit vulnerable places such as Newport Beach and the San Francisco Bay. ‘In the short term it's these severe storms in low-lying areas that are most problematic,’ Griggs said.” ” (Tony Barboza, “California sea levels to rise 5-plus feet this century, study says,” Los Angeles Times, Sunday, June 24, 2012 reporting findings of Committee on Sea Level Rise, Dalrymple et al, Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, and Future, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, Friday, June 22, 2012)
2020 - 2030 - 2040. Time frame when Arctic ice mass may completely melt. “The ice mass in the Arctic might melt completely sometime between 2020 and 2040, causing Greenland to turn, well, green. ‘If that happens,’ says Larry J. Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, ‘sea levels would eventually rise over 14 feet higher.’ That would flood millions of people across the planet.” (Rick Telander, “Time to warm up to reality,” Chicago Sun-Times, January 4, 2008)
2040 | Sea Level Rise
2040. Two foot sea level rise projected for Ventura County, California coastline by 2040. “Rising sea levels over the next 50 years could swamp hotels, power plants, the Point Mugu military base and as many as 4,100 low-lying houses along the Ventura County [California] coastline during big storms [Pierpoint Bay, Ventura Harbor, Edison Power Plant, Oxnard Shores, Hollywood Beach, Channel Islands Harbor, Silver Strand, Port of Hueneme, Hueneme Beach, Ormond Beach, Point Mugu], according to a new study of global warming by a USC research team. . . .
2050 | Rising Sea Levels
2050 . 1 to 4 feet. Ocean waters projected to rise one to four feet by 2050 threatening the homes of 25 million to 40 million people. "Most experts foresee an increase of at least 0.6 of a degree Fahrenheit before the middle of the next century. Seas would rise as higher temperatures made water expand much as they do sidewalks: thermal expansion has already raised sea levels four inches since the turn of the century. Polar ice caps might also partially melt. All this would lift the waters one to four feet by 2050 and threaten the homes of 25 million to 40 million people worldwide." (Newsweek, July 11, 1988, p. 19)
2050. Several feet. Sea level projected to rise several feet by the year 2050. “Whether the greenhouse effect has arrived or not, some scientists calculate that global temperatures could increase between 3 degrees and 9 degrees F by the year 2050. If that happens, even hotter, dryer summers are on the way, probably accompanied by a gradual melting of polar ice caps and glaciers that will cause sea levels to rise several feet by mid-century. By then it is probable that more CO2 production, from sources as diverse as industry and rampant deforestation, will play an increasingly important role in heating up the earth.” (David Brand, Andrea Dorfman-New York and Dick Thompson-Washington, “Is The Earth Warming Up?,” Time Magazine, Monday, July 4, 1988)
2100 | Global Warming Sea Level
2100 (3 to 5 feet). A minimum 3 to 5-foot sea level rise should be anticipated by 2100. “[M]ost climate scientists now believe that the main drivers of sea level rise in the 21st century will be the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (a potential of a 16-foot rise if the entire sheet melts) and the Greenland Ice Sheet (a potential rise of 20 feet if the entire ice cap melts). [16 feet + 20 feet = 36 feet] The nature of the melting is non-linear and is difficult to predict. Seeking to correct the IPCC’s failure to come up with a comprehensive forecast for sea level increase, a number of state panels and government committees have produced sea level rise predictions that include an examination of melting ice sheets. For example, sea level rise panels in Rhode Island and Miami-Dade County have concluded that a minimum of a three- to five-foot sea level rise should be anticipated by 2100.” (Rob Young and Orrin Pilkey, “How High Will Seas Rise? Get Ready for Seven Feet,” Yale Environment 360, January 14, 2010)
2100 (1.5 to 7 feet). Global warming projected to cause 1.5 – 7 feet sea level rise by 2100. “Published estimates of sea level rise due to global warming generally range from 0.5 to 2.0 meters (1.5 to 7 feet) by 2100.” (U.S. EPA, The Potential Effects of Global Climate Change on the United States, EPA-230-05-89-050, Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, December 1989, p. xxxvi)
2100. California study assumes a possible 4.6-foot sea level rise by 2100. “A California report assumes a possible 4.6-foot rise by 2100, while the Dutch assume a 2.5-foot rise by 2050 in the design of their tidal gates.” (Rob Young and Orrin Pilkey, “How High Will Seas Rise? Get Ready for Seven Feet,” Yale Environment 360, January 14, 2010)
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