Sea Level Forecast to Rise in Over 95% of Ocean Area
Human influence on the climate system has seen the sea rise and the concentration of carbon dioxide increase to an unprecedented level, UN’s Climate Change Synthesis Report for 2014 finds.
The Synthesis Report distils and integrates the findings of the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report produced by over 800 scientists and released over the past 13 months – the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken
“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.
The impacts of the human influence on the climate change has been observed on all continents and if left unchecked, it could have severe impact on both people and ecosystems.
As surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century under all assessed emission scenarios, it is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea level to rise, the report finds.
What is more, by the end of the 21st century, it is very likely that sea level will rise in more than about 95% of the ocean area. About 70% of the coastlines worldwide are projected to experience a sea-level change within ± 20% of the global mean.
However, according to the report, options are available to adapt to climate change and implementing stringent mitigation activities can ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range.
There are multiple mitigation pathways to achieve the substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades necessary to limit, with a greater than 66% chance, the warming to 2ºC – the goal
set by governments.
However, delaying additional mitigation to 2030 will substantially increase the technological, economic, social and institutional challenges associated with limiting the warming over the 21st century to below 2ºC relative to pre-industrial levels, the report finds.
“It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Youba Sokona, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. “But what is lacking are appropriate policies and institutions. The longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”
Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”
“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Press Release; Image: UN