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A new report nearly doubles previous predictions for sea level rise if global emissions continue unabated, portending a doomsday scenario for many of the world’s coastal cities.

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Climate Change: Sea Level Rising Faster than Ever
27th March 2015 | The Cubic Lane
The rising of the sea level, caused by global warming (climate change), has accelerated during the past twenty years. “The last two decades, the sea has risen faster than during the rest of the twentieth century: from 1.7 mm per year to 3.2 mm per year,” said Anny Cazenave, a French scientist and one of the authors of a report entitled Climate Change and Sea Level: From the Planet to the French coast.

The report, coordinated by the climatologist Jean Jouzel, points out that globally, the average sea level has risen to just under 20 centimeters in the twentieth century, but the increase was 7 centimeters over the last twenty years. The western Pacific ocean, for example, recorded a much higher increase than the rest of the world. Taking into account the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the latest impact studies, the authors also report that in French Polynesia, the sea has risen by 21 centimeters in just sixty years (1950-2010) and 12 centimeters in New Caledonia over the same period. For decades to come, “the rise will continue,” reminded the scientists, citing forecasts of the IPCC for the period going from now to the year 2100: 26 to 55 centimeters on average in the most optimistic scenario, but highly unlikely, and between 45 and 82 centimeters in the most pessimistic scenario, if nothing more is done to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. While the increase is expected to be more pronounced in the Arctic, the tropics and the East Coast of the United States, Anny Cazenave states that, “for Western Europe, we can expect an increase of the order of the overall average, but somewhat more pronounced in the North Sea.”

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