Sea level study reveals that the greatest risk comes from Antarctica

The record heat in Antarctica and the resulting melting ice increases the risk of sea level rise in the short term 

🔹 by the end of this century the global sea level could rise up to three times over the last century, i.e. from 19 to 58 centimetres.

What sea level rise will do to coastal cities.
What sea level rise will do to coastal cities.

Over the past 100 years, sea level has risen by 19 centimetres - partly due to melting mountain glaciers. This rise could multiply, warn researchers. The decisive factor: the ice of the Antarctic.

🔹 According to scientists, the melting of ice in the Antarctic poses an even greater risk to coastal regions worldwide than previously assumed. 

The researchers of an international team assume that this "Antarctic factor" alone could cause sea levels worldwide to rise by up to 58 centimetres by the end of this century.

Risk depends on CO2 emissions

The study, for which a whole series of computer simulations were carried out, was written by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, among others. In it, the authors explicitly point out that their forecast is a maximum value - with a large margin of fluctuation: if greenhouse gas emissions remain unchanged, the probable effect on sea-level rise would be between six and 58 centimetres. 

🔹 If, on the other hand, emissions could be reduced quickly, the range would be between four and 37 centimetres.

By way of comparison, sea level has risen by 19 centimetres over the past 100 years, according to the researchers. The most important factors for this increase were the melting mountain glaciers - and the thermal expansion of the warming seawater. 

However, according to the study now published in the journal "Earth System Dynamics" of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the Antarctic's contribution will probably become the most important factor in the foreseeable future.

Study on the influence of Antarctica on sea level

Detailed information in English on the website of the European Geoscience Union. |

Up to 150 centimetres increase?

All factors together - i.e. the size of the oceans plus the melting of the ice of Greenland and the high mountain glaciers plus the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet - then add up to the overall risk of sea-level rise. 

🔹 According to Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, it will be up to 150 centimetres by the end of the century.

"The 'Antarctic factor' is the biggest unknown, but it is also the biggest risk to sea level worldwide," says Levermann, who co-authored the study. 

What is known for sure, however, is that "the burning of coal, oil and gas further increases the risks for the coastal metropolises from New York to Mumbai, Hamburg or Shanghai".