May 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Here's how high sea levels could rise from Antarctic ice melt

Antarctic sea-level rise contributions
Data: The Paris Climate Agreement and future sea-level rise from Antarctica; Table: Axios Visuals

Sea-level rise from glaciers and ice sheets is closely tied to the pace and extent of global warming during the next several decades, data from two major new ice melt studies show.

Between the lines: Coastal communities might be able to adapt to the sea-level rise contribution from Antarctica alone through 2100 at lower warming scenarios.

  • However, there would be big increases in that sea-level rise contribution if warming reaches 3° C and an even bigger jump if the highest fossil fuel emissions scenario (RCP 8.5), which looks less likely, comes to fruition.
  • Reminder: The world has already warmed by about 1.2° C, relative to preindustrial levels.

Go deeper: World risks runaway Antarctic ice melt if Paris targets not met

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