Rising Seas Could Threaten Three Times More People than Scientists Previously Believed

Ho Chi Minh City, along with the rest of southern Vietnam, “could all but disappear” by 2050.

Bangkok, Thailand, currently home to over eight million people, is under severe threat.

Basra, Iraq, the nation’s second-largest city, “could be mostly underwater” by mid-century.

“Rising seas could affect three times more people by 2050 than previously thought, according to new research, threatening to all but erase some of the world’s great coastal cities.

“The authors of a paper published Tuesday developed a more accurate way of calculating land elevation based on satellite readings, a standard way of estimating the effects of sea level rise over large areas, and found that the previous numbers were far too optimistic. The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by mid century. Read more . . .

On the Under-Estimation of Climate Change

Climate deniers often accuse scientists of exaggerating the threats associated with the climate crisis, but if anything they’re often too conservative . The quote below is from an article in The Guardian by Dale Jamieson, Michael Oppenheimer and Naomi Oreskes.

“For political leaders and business people, we think it is important for you to know that it is extremely unlikely that scientists are exaggerating the threat of the climate crisis. It is far more likely that things are worse than scientists have said. We have already seen that the impacts of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are unfolding more rapidly than scientists predicted. There is a high likelihood that they will continue to do so, and that the IPCC estimates – that emissions must be rapidly reduced, if not entirely eliminated, by 2050 – may well be optimistic. The fact that this conclusion is hard to swallow does not make it untrue.” Read more . . .

The Usual Pattern: Faster than previously thought

“Greenhouse gases are raising the Earth’s temperature faster than previously thought, according to new climate models due to replace those used in current UN projections − meaning a bigger heat rise by 2100 than thought likely.

“Separate models at two French research centres suggest that by then average global temperatures could have risen by 6.5 to 7.0°C above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue at their present rate, the website phys.org reports.” Read More . . .

How does air pollution relate to climate change?

“Air pollution in the form of aerosol particulates . . . play an important role [in climate change], but because they are washed out by rainfall, their average lifetime is in the order of a week. Hence their effects are not global but rather regional, and their production has to continue for their effects to be present. Their effects are also complex because some reflect the sun and cause cooling, some (carbonaceous) are dark and absorb the sun’s rays, and many become involved in clouds and affect the brightness, lifetime and disposition of clouds; in general, they cause a cooling effect.

“In contrast, even if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere today, the elevated concentrations already established would persist for some time, thus underscoring the need for urgent reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Hence, changes in atmospheric composition, and particularly the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations, enhance the greenhouse effect, although with important regional effects from aerosol particulates.”

2018 Ludwick Lecture — Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth, a distinguished senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier could contribute to significant sea level rise.

According to a recent article in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Times-Call, “There’s no question that ice is flowing rapidly out of western Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier, threatening to contribute to dangerously rising sea levels in coming decades that could swamp cities and irrevocably upend the lives of people around the globe.

“The key uncertainties surrounding the dynamic now unfolding there and making the region something of a glaciology wild card, are simple; how much, and how fast?” Read more . . .

For more information, visit the The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration