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Sea Level Rise Hard To Fathom


Aired 4/20/09

Researchers say sea level rise could be even higher than official estimates two years ago.  A UC-San Diego scientist says the previous estimates did not anticipate the pace of ice melt. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast a rise in seal level of about two feet by 2100.

But scientists at a climate change meeting in Denmark this week presented evidence that Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice faster than previously expected.

Predictions now say sea level could rise four feet or more by the end of the century.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate researcher Dan Cayan says the earlier prediction was conservative.

"Of course there's huge stockpiles of fresh water in Antarctica and Greenland, Cayan says. " We don't truly understand how the oceans are going to respond to climate warming and ice sheet melting."

Cayan says there's a lot of uncertainty in estimating how much sea level will rise.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.


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