According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), drastic sea level related incidents which used to transpire once every hundred years will soon begin to occur annually along many coasts by the year 2050, even if climate warming emissions are reduced.
Research into the climate effects on oceans and ice caps indicates that a lot of the substantial ramifications that we can expect are already an inevitability, such as severe storms, melting permafrost, and diminishing marine life. However, significantly worse conditions will affect human life if we don’t take immediate action to reduce greenhouse emissions. If sea levels rise by the predicted worst case scenario (2 – 3 meters) by 2100, billions of human lives will be affected, ecosystems will be restructured, and the world map will never be the same again.
The IPCC report says that “all people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean”. Ice caps play a major part in maintaining the climate as well as providing water and oxygen.
Sea level rising is an ongoing factor as melting in Greenland and Antarctica continues. The ocean is getting warmer and more acidic, while oxygen levels are decreasing. The report says that these developments will persist and worsen towards the end of the century.
Around 50 percent of the world’s largest, highly populated cities are situated on coasts – that’s nearly 2 billion people living in the areas that will be affected the soonest and most severely. Scientist assume that even if the temperature increase is limited to just 2°C, the effects of the rising sea level will result in trillions of dollars worth of damage each year, as well as millions of climate refugees.
“The future for low-lying coastal communities looks extremely bleak,” says co-author of the report, Professor Jonathan Bamber, Bristol University in the United Kingdom. “But the consequences will be felt by all of us. There is plenty to be concerned about for the future of humanity and social order from the headlines in this report.”
A rise in sea levels between 30cm and 60cm is already unavoidable, with the possibility of increasing to 240cm or more.
Head author of the IPCC report, Zita Sebesvari, says, “The dramatic thing about sea level rise is if we accept 1 meter happening by 2100, we accept we will get about 4 meters by 2300. That is simply not an option we can risk.”