Sea-level rise due to ice loss in Antarctica could become a major risk for coastal protection even in the near term, scientists say. Within this century already, due to Antarctica alone global sea-level might rise up to three times as much as it did in the last century. This is a finding of an exceptionally comprehensive comparison of state-of-the-art computer models from around the world.
“The ‘Antarctica Factor’ turns out to be the greatest risk, and also the greatest uncertainty, for sea-levels around the globe,” says lead-author Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. “Coastal planning cannot merely rely on the best guess. It requires a risk analysis. Our study provides exactly that: The sea level contribution of Antarctica is very likely not going to be more than 58 centimeters, even under unabated emissions.”