The current rate of global warming could raise sea levels by “several meters” over the coming century, rendering most of the world’s coastal cities uninhabitable and helping unleash devastating storms, according to a paper published by James Hansen, the former Nasa scientist who is considered the father of modern climate change awareness.
The research, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, references past climatic conditions, recent observations and future models to warn the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will contribute to a far worse sea level increase than previously thought.
Hansen argues that the perilous state the world is in right now has led him to take on the role of more than just a scientist and to send a clear message about the dangers of climate change.
This may have turned Hansen into an inspiration to advocates of climate change prevention, but it has also caused some colleagues to doubt whether his findings have been skewed to suit his political goals.
The new climate study focused on events that occurred some 120,000 years ago, when the Earth's global temperature reached a level that is considered to be slightly higher than what it is today. Researchers believe that during that time, much of the planet's polar ice melted, and the water level in oceans rose by as much as 20 to 30 feet.
Climate experts agree that the Earth is about to experience an equal, if not even greater, increase in sea level. However, many assume that it would take hundreds of years before such a drastic increase could happen.
Hansen and his colleagues argue that this event could occur at a much faster rate than what people assume. It could lead to significant changes in the world's environment, including an increase in global sea level by several feet over the next five decades. This would force many people living along coastal communities to seek refuge elsewhere.
The researchers believe this scenario could be triggered by the melting of the planet's ice sheets, which would cause a slow down or even the total collapse of ocean current systems that help mitigate heat on Earth.
This in turn would cause high temperatures to focus on deeper portions of the oceans, triggering a melting of ice sheets located below sea level.
Not even the experts really know if it will happen the day after tomorrow. Sell your beachfront property before the day after tomorrow.