POTSDAM, Germany: According to new data from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels could reduce sea-level rise by 50 percent.
Current pledges by most nations to reduce GHG emissions are not enough to keep within the 1.5°C limit. New analysis by the Climate Action Tracker project current pledges by Paris Agreement signatories will produce a rise of 2.4°C by the end of the century.
However, if countries update their commitments the world would see a "significantly less" severe increase in coastal flooding by the end of this century according to the Potsdam research.
“If pledges were far more ambitious, central predictions for sea level rise from melting ice would be reduced from 25 cm to 13 cm in 2100,” noted lead author Tamsin Edwards from King's College London.
At the Biden Administration’s recent climate summit, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey didn’t announce stronger targets while Australia made a vague commitment to reaching net zero at an unspecified date and Brazil changed its baseline, making its 2030 target weaker.
The Potsdam-led team of researchers - Ronja Reese, Ricarda Winkelmann, Torsten Albrecht and Reinhard Calov - examined the land ice contribution to sea levels this century from the world’s glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
They concluded keeping to the 1.5°C limit would reduce Greenland ice sheet loss by 70 percent and glacier losses by 50 percent compared to current country emission pledges. How much Antarctica will contribute to sea-level rise under different scenarios is more difficult as it remains unclear whether snow falling in the cold interior of the ice sheet will offset melting at the coasts.
However according to new research by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Rob DeConto, co-director of the School of Earth & Sustainability, the world is currently on track to exceed 3.0°C, a scenario that would drastically accelerate the pace of sea-level rise by 2100.
Without concerted action by all governments to halt the global rise, a tipping point will be reached by 2060 and the consequences would be “irreversible on multi-century timescales,” said DeConto.
Edwards and his 80 Potsdam co-authors combined 900 simulations from 38 international institutions to produce their results that will contribute to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment report published later this year.
A report published by the Potsdam Institute and Columbia University, New York last year concluded a 2.0°C rise in global temperatures would produce a 2.5 metre rise in sea levels from melting Antarctic ice flows.
Story Type: News