Sea level rise may be higher than previously predicted. -11 May 2008
During a European Geosciences Union conference just last month, scientists predicted that melting ice sheets and warming ocean water could raise sea levels by as much as 1.5 meters by the end of this century. This forecast is three times higher than reported by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year. These findings have raised the concern of both scientists and governments of coastal and island nations, which are the most vulnerable.
Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao is the Dean of the Earth Science Institute at the National Central University in Formosa (Taiwan).
Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao, Dean of Earth Science Institute, National Central University of Formosa (Taiwan), former NASA scientist: One of the major consequences of global warming is the rising of the sea level. This is truly a global problem because a major part of our civilization actually resides in a few meters above the sea level. So any or small amount of sea level rise over time will have great impact on the world economics and human livelihoods. As an island country, Taiwan should be and of course is very conscientious about this problem.
VOICE: Based on the latest analysis conducted by a joint British-Finnish team, sea levels over the past 2,000 years have been stable. Measurements indicate a rise of only 2 cm in the 18th century and 6 cm in the 19th century, but then a sudden and alarming 19 cm, or over half a foot within this past century. This is most likely due to the melting glacial ice sheets. To climatologists these small numbers are significant, with likely more complex implications than are understood so far.
Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao: It’s very serious, because we don't know how to predict the future. Whether the sea level rises will become catastrophic, that will be something beyond our ability to predict. And also the sea level is actually the thermometer reflecting the seriousness of the global warming. In that regard, the sea level rise problem should be closely monitored.
VOICE: Thank you Dr. Chao and all scientists who are diligently updating and sharing this information about global warming. May we continue to act quickly as our knowledge of the climate system expands, in order to save precious lives.