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Emissions up until this point have ensured an irreversible sea-level rise of 1.1 meters by the year 3000

A new study has found that it's too late to reverse the effects that greenhouse gas emissions will have on sea levels over the next thousand years -- but we could lessen the impact of these effects if proper changes are made. 

According to research by scientists at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Université catholique de Louvain, greenhouse gas emissions produced up to this point has ensured an irreversible sea-level rise of 1.1 meters by the year 3000. This number could increase, they warn, if no action is taken to reduce these levels -- and the effects could extend into thousands of years into the future.  

The research team came to this conclusion by modeling sea-level changes over thousands of years while including all of our planet's ice sheets and warming of the oceans into its projections. This includes glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The team said this has never been done before. 

Using a climate modeling system called LOVECLIM, the team analyzed several scenarios over the next thousand years. It found that there will be a sea-level rise of at least 1.1 meters by the year 3000, but if other certain emissions scenarios were followed, it could increase to 2.1, 4.1 or even 6.8 meters. 

The study also found that the Greenland ice sheet was the cause of over half of the sea-level rises while thermal expansion of the ocean came in second place and glaciers/ice came in third. 

"Ice sheets are very slow components in the climate system; they respond on time scales of thousands of years," said Professor Philippe Huybrechts, co-author of the study. "Together with the long lifetime of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, this inertia is the real poison on the climate system; anything we do now that changes the forcing in the climate system will necessarily have long consequences for the ice sheets and sea level.

"Ultimately, the current polar ice sheets store about 65 metres of equivalent sea level and if climatic warming will be severe and long-lasting, all ice will eventually melt. Mankind should limit the concentration of greenhouse gases at the lowest possible level as soon as possible. The only realistic option is a drastic reduction of the emissions. The lower the ultimate warming will be, the less severe the ultimate consequences will be." 

This study was published in Environmental Research Letters

Source: Science Daily

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By soloburrito on 10/3/2012 12:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
That's a funny word to throw in the face of 4.5 billion years of geological history.

RE: Irreversible
By Milliamp on 10/3/2012 1:15:40 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to go that far back you can't ignore the 99.9% extinction rate..

RE: Irreversible
By Denigrate on 10/3/2012 9:05:15 AM , Rating: 2
Great point. Many mass extinction events throughout history, but somehow it's only human's who cause extinction events today. We are destroying the earths diversity, and it'll never recover.

RE: Irreversible
By icemansims on 10/3/2012 11:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
Never recover? Good god, you don't understand at all do you? Our environment is changing. With or without us many species die off and develop almost on an annual basis. Most of this happens at the microscopic level so you never even notice. The point, however, is that nothing is EVER recoverable.
Is the planet warming? Yes.
Is there evidence that human influence is accelerating that (solar output accounts for more)? Equivocally, yes.
Does that mean we're "destroying the planet"? No.
Does that mean we could make the planet's environment hostile to humanity's needs? Yes.
At very worst, we'll kill off ourselves. Life will continue. All species die off in their own time, usually around ~10 million years, according to fossil record. More will take their place. Everything changes.

RE: Irreversible
By WLee40 on 10/3/2012 1:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
Great points. I wish I could vote you up, but I already made a post and you said many things I was trying to say.

RE: Irreversible
By freedom4556 on 10/3/2012 1:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
This. A thousand times this. Pretty much sums up my whole viewpoint on "climate change". Everybody needs to just accept the bigger picture and move on.

RE: Irreversible
By Saldrin on 10/3/2012 7:05:10 AM , Rating: 1

Did anybody ever ask how all that water got up there in the first place? The water had to be that high to begin with to create the ice in the first place, right?

RE: Irreversible
By HoosierEngineer5 on 10/3/2012 8:14:58 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Irreversible
By Saldrin on 10/3/2012 8:21:01 AM , Rating: 1
Still need water to create snow. The old chicken or the egg question: what came first, water or the ice.

RE: Irreversible
By ironargonaut on 10/3/2012 4:29:43 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Irreversible
By dgingerich on 10/3/2012 7:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
Especially when blaming most of that sea level rise on the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which has happened repeatedly during human history.

So many global warming "scientists" push Greenland as an example of what we're doing wrong, but completely ignore the fact that the Vikings had colonies on Greenland long before we started burning fossil fuels on a large scale.

RE: Irreversible
By HoosierEngineer5 on 10/3/2012 8:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
If they used a model that had an infinite impulse response characteristic (similar to a resistive-capacitive circuit), the effect of the stimulus would persist indefinitely. Of course, the level of the effect would be practically immesurable (below noise level) after only a small number of time constants.

It's a way to generate headlines but may not mean much at all. Simply a characteristic of their model.

Of course, if a different stimulus were applied, the output could be made to go in the other direction.

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