31 Jul '13, 5pm

We are consigning hundreds of coastal cities to destruction. Who cares?

We are consigning hundreds of coastal cities to destruction. Who cares?

The big question hanging over this analysis is how quickly sea levels will rise to the committed levels. Neither Levermann and colleagues’ analysis, nor my new paper, address this question. In a loose analogy, it is much easier to know that a pile of ice in a warm room will melt, than to know exactly how fast it will melt. Levermann and company do put an upper limit of 2,000 years on how long it will take the sea level commitments described here to play out. Recent research indicates that warming from carbon emitted today is essentially irreversible on the relevant timescales (in the absence of its massive-scale engineered removal from the atmosphere), and will endure for hundreds or thousands of years, driving this long run unstoppable sea level rise. On the other hand, our sea level rise commitment may be realized well before two millennia from now. The average rate of g...

Full article: http://grist.org/climate-energy/we-are-consigning-hundred...

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