Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

Scripps Institution Researcher Contributes To Latest UN Climate Report

The La Jolla coast is pictured on a cloudy morning, Sept. 25, 2019.

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: The La Jolla coast is pictured on a cloudy morning, Sept. 25, 2019.

A U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study found the ice in Greenland and Antarctica is melting faster than previously thought and the ocean is also warming faster.

That finding carries some dire consequences for the future. The study said there will be higher sea levels, a warmer climate and more destructive storms.

Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography co-authored part of the report and she said researchers were taken aback by the speed of change.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

RELATED: Research Shows California’s Marine Sea Life Reserves Are Working

“Warming in the oceans is accelerating. Its been speeding up since the mid-1990s," Levin said. "And many of the other changes including sea-level rise are also as a result accelerating.”

The report concluded that rising sea levels will permanently change where and how people live.

Climate change is no longer an existential crisis that might happen sometime in the future, according to the report.

“We already have climate change. We have it here,” Levin said. “We have it around the world it is already happening and that is the major message in this report. Is that it has been documented already. So off California, in the California current, we’ve been seeing warming events called the warm blob for a bit. This year it’s also been warm. But warmer waters here cause species to move north, change their distribution and that can affect our fisheries.”

RELATED: San Diego’s Climate Crisis: Oyster Hatchery Challenged By Warming Ocean

Coastal storms, combined with higher ocean levels, will create havoc along California’s coast.

Researchers cited in the report say climate change is already irreversible.

Levin, however, said some of the worst outcomes can still be avoided is people make changes in the activities that put pressure on the climate.

She said protecting habitat that sequesters carbon is a good start.

San Diego News Now podcast branding

The San Diego City Attorney's office is working to dismiss more than 5,000 low-level marijuana convictions. Plus, how a Trump administration rule meant to discourage immigrants from accessing social services ... Read more →

Aired: September 26, 2019 | Transcript

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.