Antarctic melt blows climate models

Antarctica already contributing to rising sea levels: Recent accurate satellite measurements of gravity fields over Antarctica showed that Antarctica was already contributing to sea-level rise, which was not thought to be the case at the time of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report and was not included in the sea-level projections in the latest IPCC report in 2007. The upshot was that the WAIS, and indeed the whole Antarctic Ice Sheet, might be contributing to sea-level rise earlier than expected. At what point this process became irreversible due to the accelerated disintegration effects already mentioned for the WAIS was uncertain, but a 3-4°C global warming might well take it beyond the tipping point.

Many major cities would be flooded: The disintegration of the WAIS would mean a sea-level rise of 5-6 metres with huge impacts on Australia. The combined effect of the melting of Greenland and rapid disintegration of part, or all of, the Antarctic ice sheet would result in unprecedented damage and disruption to civilisation. Most of the major and historic coastal cities of the world would be almost totally destroyed, or, given huge expenditure over centuries, turned into walled cities not unlike New Orleans before hurricane Katrina. We would no longer be concerned about the sinking of Venice, but of London, Lisbon, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, Calcutta, Lagos and dozens of other major cities that lay at the roots of our civilisation. Extensive low-lying areas of several major Australian cities such as Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would be affected.

Reference: "Dangerous Aspiration: Beyond 3ºC Warming in Australia". A report commissioned by WWF-Australia, published September 2007; written and researched by Dr A. Barrie Pittock, PSM, former leader of the CSIRO Climate Impacts Group and author of "Climate change: Turning up the Heat". Copyright WWF – Australia, all rights reserved. Contact: WWF – Australia Head Office, Level 13, 235 Jones St, Ultimo, NSW 2007. Phone: +612 9281 5515 Fax: +612 8281 1060 Website:

Erisk Net, 25/10/2007, p. 18

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