Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could reduce sea level rise by 50 percent: research
The world can avoid the worst effects of rising sea levels if the world’s countries are able to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a study released Wednesday found.
The study, posted at Nature.com, found that the rate of melting sea ice could be cut in half should countries meet the ambitious target for limiting warming. Currently, the world is on pace to warm 3 degrees by 2100.
“We find that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would halve the land ice contribution to twenty-first-century sea level rise, relative to current emissions pledges,” wrote the study’s authors, Sophie Nowicki of the University of Buffalo, Tamsin Edwards of Kings College of London, and Thomas Zwinger of the University of Helsinki.
The study went on to note that even under a scenario in which the world’s nations were able to halt warming at 1.5 degrees, the possibility remained of uncontrollable sea level rise due to glacier loss that could result in millions of climate refugees around the world.
Scientists have warned that the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves would lead to “unimaginable” amounts of water being fed into the world’s oceans, significantly contributing to sea level rise.
A study published in the same journal in 2019 found that 300 million people live on land that is expected to flood at least once per year should Antarctic ice shelves become unstable.
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