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Effects of climate change

Rising sea levels

The 2007 February meeting of the IPCC accepted the prediction that global sea levels are likely to rise by the end of the 21st century. 6 different models all gave slightly different predictions, predicting possible sea level rises of between 28-43cm. However, these models do not include the effects of climate feedback systems or the melting of ice sheets. If, for example, the Greenland ice sheet melts completely, sea levels could rise by as much as 7m.

The 2009 Copenhagen summit scientific update revealed satellites data showing a global average sea-level rise 80% above the IPCC predictions (3.4mm per year), consistent with a doubling in the volume of ice melt water.

Even a slight rise in sea levels could mean the virtual disappearance of the Maldives and parts of Bangladesh.

Try out this height map. Notice how many places in the UK are also vulnerable to sea level rises.


Next: Atlantic Currents

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Haddummati Atol in the Maldives, is barely above current sea levels.
Click to enlarge.

Watch this video clip

Many of the Maldive Islands may soon disappear. Where will the 305 thousand people who live in this country go? The highest point in this tiny country is a mere 2m above sea level.

Teacher's Resources

IPPC 2007 Report Summaries
The Physical Science Basis
Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability
Mitigation of Climate Change