Sea levels along the U.S. northeastern coastline could rise nearly twice as fast during this century than previously predicted, according to new research conducted by the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State University.
COAPS scientist Jianjun Yin, who led the research, analyzed ten climate models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and calculated a 90 percent likelihood that sea levels along the northeast will exceed global sea levels by the end of the century.
According to the study’s official summary:
“Yin and colleagues analysed climate projections from a set of global climate models under a variety of greenhouse-gas emission scenarios. They find that sea levels in the North Atlantic Ocean adjust to the projected slowing of the meridional overturning circulation. Their model projection attributes 15-23 cm of the rise in New York sea level by the year 2100 to changes in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation, compared with 36-51 cm of total sea-level rise in this location.”
Yin is concerned that the effects of global climate change pose a particular threat to this region.
"The northeast coast of the United States is among the most vulnerable regions to future changes in sea level and ocean circulation, especially when considering its population density and the potential socioeconomic consequences of such changes," Yin said in a statement. "The most populous states and cities of the United States and centers of economy, politics, culture and education are located along that coast."
Mongabay.com reports that even Yin’s estimate may be too conservative: “Yin and his colleagues did not factor in further sea level rises from land ice melting, such as the Greenland ice sheet, because of the level of uncertainty regarding such melt.”
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