How High is the Water, Momma?

According to the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “about one meter high and rising.” The group of scientists met in Copenhagen this week and revised their previous estimate for global warming induced sea-level rise, saying the sea could rise one meter by 2100. This is worse than they thought two years ago.

The previous IPCC assessment report, published in 2007, projected a sea level rise of “only” 18 to 59 centimeters by 2100. Copenhagen’s speakers stated today that the 2007 numerical models did not fully represent either outlet glaciers or their interactions with the ocean.

“Even the IPCC said that they didn’t take some factors into consideration because they lacked the data,” Katherine Richardson, vice dean of the University of Copenhagen’s faculty of science, noted in an interview.

“Now we have the data, and it seems very clear that sea level rise by 2100 will be greater than the IPCC’s prediction, and also that the rate of increase after 2100 will be faster than it will be before 2100. We are at the very least in the worst-case scenario of the IPCC. There’s no good news there.”

Meanwhile, IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri spake the inconvenient truth when he noted that the United States is likely to proceed only incrementally toward carbon reductions. “He [Obama] is not going to say by 2020 I’m going to reduce emissions by 30%. He’ll have a revolution on his hands. He has to do it step by step.” Says The Guardian: “Pachauri’s remarks echo those of Todd Stern, the US president’s new chief climate negotiator, who said last week that it was ‘not possible’ for the US to aim for 25-40% cuts by 2020.”