The Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC has launched a synopsis that pulls together the past decade of peer-reviewed scientific research into sea-level rise.
Report Card: Sea Level Rise 2012 is a summary of research into past, present and projected future sea-level rise. It focuses in particular on the scientific literature since 2008.
Scientists can now explain the individual components of observed sea level rise since 1960. Since about 2000, the loss of ice (both glaciers and ice sheets) has contributed more to sea-level rise than has thermal expansion (warming) of the ocean. Before 2000 thermal expansion made up the major component of sea-level rise.
The report summarises our knowledge of how these components could influence sea level in the future. It also explains research into the two major impacts of rising sea levels: coastal inundation and shoreline recession.
Other key points include:
- We now have a better understanding of future sea-level rise by including the effects of movements of the Earth’s crust since the last glaciation and complex gravitational interactions between the land and the oceans as the sea rises.
- We now have robust statistical methods of estimating the future likelihood of flooding events by combining information on sea-level rise and present storm surges and tides. The results of these methods can feed directly into quantitative risk assessment procedures.
- Estimating the future rate of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets by increased discharge into the ocean remains the largest uncertainty in projecting sea-level rise over the next century.
Report Card: Sea Level Rise 2012 is written to inform the governments, planners, infrastructure developers and the community. It was written by ACE oceanographer and sea-level rise expert Dr John Hunter and ACE Honorary Research Fellow and glaciologist Dr Ian Allison.
View Report Card: Sea Level Rise 2012