Friday, March 24, 2006

more on global warming and rising sea levels

The BBC is reporting on an article in Science which predicts a rise in ocean levels of 3-4 meters (but a mere 2-3.5 meters by 2100) with the collapse of half the antarctic ice sheet in 500 years. The prediction is based on past correlation between ocean levels and warming trends, with agreement from computer models. Another study shows that Greenland's glaciers have sped up.

So, how much is a 3 meter rise? There seems to be heavy demand on the interactive maps scattered around the Internet, but a 2004 National Geographic article gives a good feel.
The maps show that a 1-meter (3-foot) rise would swamp cities all along the U.S. eastern seaboard. A 6-meter (20-foot) sea level rise would submerge a large part of Florida.

. . .

A one-meter sea level rise would wreak particular havoc on the Gulf Coast and eastern seaboard of the United States.

"No one will be free from this," said Overpeck, whose maps show that every U.S. East Coast city from Boston to Miami would be swamped. A one-meter sea rise in New Orleans, Overpeck said, would mean "no more Mardi Gras."

If you can get through to it, there's an interactive system here. There is also a collection of static maps here.

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