PerspectiveClimate Change

Regional Sea-Level Projection

Science  04 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6081, pp. 550-551
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220366

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Projections of global sea-level rise by 2100 C.E. range from 20 cm (1) to as much as 2 m (2, 3), and sea level will not stop rising then. For civilization, the stakes are high. Without adaptation, a rise by 0.5 m would displace 3.8 million people in the most fertile part of the Nile River Delta (4). A rise by 2 m could displace 187 million people globally (5). Credible projections of sea-level rise in the 21st century are essential for devising adaptation or mitigation measures. Yet, present estimates of future sea-level rise are too imprecise to inform such decisions.