Scientists Say Sea-Level Rise is “Now Inevitable”

A recent study published in Nature Climate Change used new techniques to determine that melting of the Greenland ice sheet will contribute at minimum 27cm (about ten-and-a-half inches) of sea-level rise as 10 trillion tons of ice melt. That guaranteed minimum is twice the amount predicted by last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report. This figure was calculated using satellite images and the shape of Greenland and is the conservative minimum amount of ice melt regardless of carbon emissions moving forward. This means that if we stopped all fossil fuel burning and greenhouse gas emissions today, we will still see a sea-level rise of at least 27cm from the melting ice.

This is the estimate from only the Greenland ice sheet. Other ice sheets like the West and East Antarctic sheets and mountain glaciers in places like the Himalayas and Alps are also melting at startling rates that may have already surpassed their tipping points.

This does not just affect the nearly 600 million people who live in coastal zones. Other natural disasters like coastal storms will become even more severe and could impact larger areas. As sea levels rise, we cannot even yet predict the spiraling effects that will further impact our environment, homes, agriculture, and transportation systems.

Climate change is reaching tipping points at rates much faster than the previous conservative estimates because those in power making the decisions continue to invest in and burn fossil fuels at an increasing rate. These studies show that sea level rise and massive ice loss are now inevitable, and if we do not change course, we can expect a future underwater. We still have time to stop further change, but that can only happen with the organized efforts of those of us in the 99 Percent. We have no time to lose and a future to save!