From the Institute of Physics:

Our greenhouse gas emissions up to now have triggered an irreversible warming of the Earth that will cause sea-levels to rise for thousands of years to come, new research has shown.

Oh, neat.

The research showed that we have already committed ourselves to a sea-level rise of 1.1 metres by the year 3000 as a result of our greenhouse gas emissions up to now. This irreversible damage could be worse, depending on the route we take to mitigating our emissions.

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If we were to follow the high A2 emissions scenario adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a sea-level rise of 6.8 metres could be expected in the next thousand years. The two other IPCC scenarios analysed by the researchers, the B1 and A1B scenarios, yielded sea-level rises of 2.1 and 4.1 metres respectively.

So by the year 3000, unless we take action, we can expect the ocean to be 6.8 meters higher. As in, 22 feet.

baldeaglebluffYour house, eventually.

Why the rise?

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In all of the scenarios that the researchers analysed, the Greenland ice sheet was responsible for more than half of the sea level rises; thermal expansion of the oceans was the second highest contributor, and the contribution of glaciers and ice was only small.

That “thermal expansion” bit is a son of a gun. Warmer water expands to occupy more volume. So warmer temperatures mean more voluminous oceans — meaning higher sea levels.

The good news is that we’ll all be dead be then. Assuming a generation is 25 years, this will only impact your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren.

So no rush.

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