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View Diary: The unsettling link between CO2 and sea level rise (25 comments)

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  •  The authors stated their reasoning (0+ / 0-)
    However, it will take many centuries to get to these high levels. Given the typical mean rates of natural sea-level rises on multicentury timescales [1.0–1.5 cm·yr−1, with extremes during deglaciation of 5 cm·yr−1 (41–43)], our projection suggests an expected equilibration time of the Earth system to modern CO2 forcing of 5–25 centuries.
    Sea-level rise in recent years (3.2mm/y in a warming climate) has been well within the long-term mean.  But even if we were to assume deglaciation-style SLR, it will take a long time to get to 6m, 9m, or 24m (authors' long-term SLR corresponding to 2011 CO2 concentrations): 120y, 180y, and 480y, respectively (at 5cm/y).  At 1cm/y, those time estimates become 600y, 900y, and 2,400y.

    With regard to the point of the post, those estimates doesn't diminish the threat of SLR, but I think it's important to keep them in context.  1m SLR by 2100 is well within the realm of possibility.  Since infrastructure decisions are costly and expected to last for decades, planners should plan for a little more than 1m SLR in case projections are too conservative.  But there isn't any reason to talk about abandoning coastal cities based on these projections - at least not in the next 100 years.  Nobody is going to abandon trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure.

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