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Antarctic Mass Loss Could Increase Global Sea Levels by Up to 10 Feet by 2100

Apr 27, 2017 03:26 PM EDT
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Melting Glaciers
The loss of Antarctic mass, paired by ocean warming, could potentially increase global sea levels by up to 10 feet by 2100.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A new study by a team of international researchers revealed the loss of Antarctic mass, paired by ocean warming, could potentially increase global sea levels by up to 10 feet by 2100.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, showed that the melting of ice sheets in Antarctica might be happening faster than expected. Due to this, the researchers noted that global sea levels, though unlikely, could increase beyond previous estimates.

"It might be an unlikely scenario, but we can't exclude the possibility of global sea levels rising by more than three meters by the year 2100," said Sybren Drijfhout, professor in Physical Oceanography and Climate Physics at the University of Southampton and one of the authors of the study, in a statement. "Unabated global warming will lead to sea-level rise of many meters -- possibly more than 10 meters -- within a few centuries, seriously threatening many cities all over the world that are built in low-lying river deltas."

For the study, the researchers integrated different model projections of the Antarctic mass loss with a new statistical method to estimate future global sea levels. The researchers observed that recent modeling studies of the Antarctica showed that the continent is losing its mass faster than previously thought.

Taking this and other factors, such as ocean warming, Greenland ice sheet melt, glacier melt and land water storage, the researchers were able to create a projection that is somewhat similar to the predictions made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In a worst case scenario, the global sea levels could experience an increase of 2.5 to 3 meters by 2100. It comes close to NOAA's recent adjustments, which is 2 to 2.5 meters. Despite being consistent with NOAA's prediction, the new study relied on projection models and statistical method. On the other hand, NOAA's estimate leaned towards expert judgment.

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