May 22, 2018
Report: Prediction quantifies rising sea levels
SACRAMENTO – (INT) – A new report contains a sobering outlook on how climate change could impact rising sea levels along California’s coast.

The report by a 7-member team of experts focuses on recent scientific advances on the role of polar ice loss.

The experts predict a 67 percent probability that the San Francisco Bay Area will experience a sea level rise between one and 2-and-a-half feet by 2100. However, if there were no significant mitigation efforts to limit climate change, sea levels could rise by 3.4 feet.

The report also warns of uncertain scenarios involving the rapid loss of the Antarctic ice sheet. In one such scenario, sea levels along California’s coastline could rise up to 10 feet by 2100 – about 30-40 times faster than sea-level rise experienced over the last century.

Three-fourths of California's population lives in coastal counties. Sea-level rise, already underway, threatens hundreds of miles of roads and railways, harbors, airports, power plants, waste water treatment plants, coastal wetlands, beaches, dunes, bluffs, and thousands of businesses and homes, the report said.

The new science report was requested by the California Ocean Protection Council and the California Natural Resources Agency.

Among the other key findings:

· Scientific understanding of sea-level rise is advancing at a rapid pace.

· The rate of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets is increasing. These ice sheets will soon become the primary contributor to global sea-level rise

· Mountain glaciers contain enough ice to raise sea levels by only about 1.5 feet. In contrast, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contain enough ice to raise global mean sea level by 24 feet and 187 feet, respectively.

· For California, ice loss from Antarctica, and especially from West Antarctica, causes higher sea-level rise in than the global average. For every 1 foot of global sea-level rise caused by loss of ice on West Antarctic, sea-level will rise approximately 1.25 feet along the California coast.

· After 2050, sea-level rise projections increasingly depend on the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions.

Story Date: May 10, 2017
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