New Brunswick, N.J. (May 21, 2019) – Global average sea level will most likely rise by 3.6 feet by 2100 under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, but could exceed 7.8 feet – a possibility that will help inform risk-management decisions on sea-level adaptation and climate change mitigation, according to a study by Rutgers and other scientists.

The 7.8-foot number is more than twice the highest level projected in the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, according to the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study estimates about a 1-in-20 chance of exceeding 7.8 feet in a future with unchecked emissions growth.

The study employed “structured expert judgment,” bringing together input from 22 experts who projected ice-sheet changes under two climate scenarios: a high-end one leading to 9 degrees Fahrenheit of warming between the 19th century and the end of this century, and a low-end one that stabilizes warming at 3.6 degrees. The Earth has already warmed by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century.

Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Robert E. Kopp is available to comment on the study. He can discuss the implications of sea-level change and the differences in predictions.

“The central numbers in this study are about a foot higher than the IPCC’s estimates,” said Kopp, director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and co-director of the Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience Initiative.

“But the experts we assessed found a pretty significant chance of ‘black swan’ outcomes leading to extremely high levels of rise,” he added.

Here’s a link to the study:                                                                                           ###

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